Posts Tagged ‘tlc book tours’

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…)
23rd August
2011
written by Tony

For some people it’s hard to imagine how something so ubiquitous and generally unnoticed as typefaces (or, more colloquially, fonts) could be interesting enough to write a book about. Of course, the design community spends a great deal of time and effort considering, analyzing, using, staring at and generally obsessing over typography and fonts, but it is rare that a book like this would be aimed at the non-design affiliated. This is a shame, because, as Garfield amply and ably demonstrates in his book, type is fascinating. Its origins and tradition closely associated with the people, and the era, that gave birth to it. Most people will open their font menu and choose a font without ever considering why that it exists, why it looks the way it does or even what its name means. Baskerville, Garamond, Goudy — fonts yes — but also people. People who invested significant time and fortune into crafting a something that was intensely personal, men who knew that, if successful, their lives and work would never be noticed by the very people they were invested in: readers. (more…)
3rd August
2011
written by Steph

In the 2+ years (we're swiftly approaching 3 years... where has the time flown?!?) that Tony and I have been running this website, I think we've covered about one short story collection per year, if that. Try as I might, I just don't really connect well with short stories. They so often leave me feeling bereft and unsatisfied, like there just isn't enough there for me to really sink my teeth into. I very much want to be the kind of reader who enjoys the art of the short story, since I feel like people who genuinely like short fiction are in a reading class well above mine. Me, I tend to stick with strict fiction, occasionally meandering into narrative non-fiction... but one day when I am a wise reader, I would like to dive voraciously into volumes of short stories and maybe even poetry. Alas, that day has not yet come, and so I still stick to pedestrian works of writing that hover somewhere around 350 pages. To me, that's the amount of time it takes to tell a story and good. Of course, judging by Van Booy's debut collection, The Secret Lives of People in Love, he'd strongly disagree with me. Some of the stories are only THREE pages long... approximately 1% of a regular length novel! If brevity is the soul of wit, then Van Booy must be a very witty man indeed. (more…)
28th June
2011
written by Steph

Faithful (and perhaps even casual) readers of this blogs know that I have certain fondness for books that revolve around the scholastic world. Half the charm for me in reading the Harry Potter books wasn’t just in entering a magical world, but in getting to go to school with Harry and the gang. The moment when the first book really spoke to me was Harry’s first trip to Diagon Alley and Hagrid takes him through buying school supplies. Heaven! Probably the only place more dangerous to let me loose unsupervised other than a bookstore would be a stationary/office supplies stores. I can’t say I personally miss all that much about my own highschool experience, but when Fall comes round and I have no reason to buy new pens and binders, well, I may just die a bit inside. One of my goals has also been to try to read more international fiction, so when I saw Miss Timmins’ School for Girls on the TLC Tours roster which boasted a murder mystery taking place in an Indian boarding school, you can imagine how excited I was. As it was pitched, Miss Timmins’ revolves around a young Indian woman named Charu, who takes a position at the British-nun-run Miss Timmins’ boarding school teaching English as a means of stretching her wings and gaining some independence from her family. Although Charu is slow to make friends, she eventually forms a magnetic bond with a fellow teacher, Moira Prince, and the two become thick as thieves. Unfortunately, one dark and stormy evening (the very best kind of nights for murder most foul!), Moira’s body is found broken at the base of a cliff and signs suggest her fall was no accident. As suspicion flits around the community, Charu is determined to discover who killed her friend and why, even if it means bringing unwanted attention and questions upon herself. (more…)
18th May
2011
written by Steph

Get lost and stay lost!

Like many people out there, Tony and I love to travel. I am always a little bit suspicious of people who claim to have no interest in visiting or seeing new places or ever leaving the country. I truly believe that travel expands the mind and provides a perspective that books and other media simply cannot offer. For my money, there are few things I can imagine that are a better investment than travel. In fact, for the past few years Tony and I have been saving up our pennies to take the ultimate adventure once I finish graduate school: a round-the-world trip that will last somewhere from 12 – 18 months. Of course, because I'm a planner, I’ve spent tons of time researching countries and coming up with a rough travel plan. We’ve spent countless hours watching shows like Departures and No Reservations, trying to decide which parts of the globe we need to see firsthand. It’s nice to see the vitality captured through film and television, but of course I’ve spent a lot of time reading travel books and have been really interested in bulking up on my travel memoir reading as well. So when I saw that The Lost Girls was being offered on TLC Tours, I asked Trish if I could get my hands on the copy since it sounded like a book that would be great inspiration for my own. (more…)
18th January
2011
written by Steph

Y’all, I have been waiting to talk about this book for soooo long. I think I first saw it posted on TLC tours sometime back in back in SEPTEMBER, so I’ve literally been sitting on this thing for months. Ok, fine, figuratively, since I haven’t in fact been perched on my galley copy of The Weird Sisters like a mother hen for three months, but it kind of feels like I have. I’ve been nursing a great secret, but now I can let it out: The Weird Sisters is a totally fab book and you must read it post haste. I was initially drawn to this book because of the Shakespearean connotation of the name (the weird sisters being the three witches in “Macbeth”). You know I love me the bard, so any book that alludes to the master of the English language is going to pique my interest. As I read the little blurb about the book, I realized the Shakespeare reference in the title was not mere coincidence but intentional, which thrilled me. Add to that the fact that book involves three sisters whose father is a professor of Shakespeare, and who all return home, beaten and bruised when disasters of various ilk strike, and I was sold. If this were a Cosmo quiz about books, my answer would say something to the effect of “If you chose mostly A’s: You are the kind of reader who loves books set in academia that are chocked full of literary references, and feature dysfunctional family drama to round things out.” If this also describes you, then The Weird Sisters is the book for you. (more…)
29th September
2010
written by Steph

Back in 2001, when I was in my final year of highschool, I had a relatively open schedule, where I had large periods of free time during the day. On such occasions, I would generally take over a portion of the library near the leisure reading section under the guise of doing my Latin or Algebra homework, but really looking for fiction to read and while away the hours instead. One of the books that always caught my eye but which I never managed to read more than the first 10 pages or so of was The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. So when TLC Tours offered me the chance to finally read and review this puppy, I was more than happy to oblige. Going into this book, I certainly knew of it, but really knew nothing substantial about it except that it took place in Africa. I’m not sure that I even entirely knew that it involved missionaries, but involve missionaries it does. The book kicks off in 1959 when the Price family, headed by Nathan Price, leave their comfortable if not overly happy life in Georgia to spend a year saving the souls in the name of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the deepest wilds of the Congo. The novel is divided into seven books, each one prefaced by the musings of Orleanna Price (Nathan’s wife) on their time in Africa, ruminations which softly foreshadow the action that will form the focus of each book. The books themselves are formed from what read like diary entries, each the voice of one of the Price daughters. Through these girls, we see the Prices struggle with culture shock and culture clash as they attempt to assimilate into their new home, struggling with physical, emotional, and social hardships in an environment in which few seem to thrive. We watch as time gradually shapes their attitudes as well as their notions of faith, family and injustice. Each of them is affected differently by their experiences in Kilanga, but nevertheless, each is irrevocably changed by Africa. (more…)
26th May
2010
written by Steph

When I saw that TLC Book Tours were offering up stops on a Legend of a Suicide tour, I jumped at the chance to participate. After reading great things about the book on blogs like Farm Lane Books and Savidge Reads, I was really curious about this novel/short story collection. Now, I know I’ve written before about my general lack of luck when it comes to short stories, but I felt this time could be different because the same characters appear in each short story, and they are all narrated (more or less) by a boy named Roy.  Through the various stories, Roy explores his relationship with his father and the impact of said father’s suicide on his family. The subject matter immediately intrigued me, so I was very happy to get my grubby paws on this (free) book. (more…)
1st April
2010
written by Steph

One of the things I find really rewarding about the book blogging community is the way in which it exposes me to tons of books I might never have encountered or thought twice about on my own.  There’s often talk of the abundance of books, and it’s true that this can be overwhelming, but I have found that after a brief period of madness when I was scrabbling to read everything I encountered through blogs, I’ve actually become more discerning reader.  By reading more, I’ve really begun to understand my own tastes as well as make peace with the fact that I’m not going to be able to read every book that’s every published, or even all those that cross my path, and so it’s critical that I seek out the best books.  And by “best books”, I simply mean the ones that are best for me.  The ones I learn from, the ones that make me stretch, and yes, even the ones that simple tickle my fancy and make me laugh.  After all, there’s nothing wrong with having fun when you read! I admit that The Lunatic, The Lover, and The Poet is a book that I probably wouldn’t have read if Trish hadn’t offered it to me (for free) via TLC Tours.  As much as I love Shakespeare, I don’t read historical fiction very often, and I’m always a bit leery of books that take other author’s characters and reinvent them.  That said, I was intrigued by the snippets that I read, and Hamlet is probably the Shakespeare play that I know best, as I’ve studied it twice (and even went and saw the Kenneth Branagh über long film version when it was released in theatres), so I decided to verge outside of my comfort zone and give it a try. (more…)
25th February
2010
written by Tony

When a piece of metal rusts, it is like a cancer. The oxidation spreads slowly, bubbling the paint before it erupts to the surface like an angry weal that can only be removed and patched over with a new piece of uncorrupted metal. After a certain point the rust can’t be stopped and the entire affected area has to be removed to protect the rest of the undamaged metal. And, even if it is stopped, there is always the risk of return, there is never remission. A chip leads to a flake which exposes the metal’s strength to the corruption of the air and the rust returns, requiring constant vigilance. Set amidst the ruins of a beautiful but economically devastated Pennsylvania steel town, American Rust tells the story of the slow decay of the people trapped by the gutted city of Buell and the prison of its influence. The strength of steel is slowly eroded by the creeping influence of rust born of neglect, and as rust slowly spreads across the closed mills of Buell it becomes apparent that the residents of the doomed city are decaying as surely as the ruins left in the shadows and smoke of the once vibrant smelters and factories. (more…)
Previous