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review 2017-06-14 20:06
Review: An Encounter at Hyde Park (Anthology) by Various Authors
An Encounter at Hyde Park - Ava Stone,Deb Marlowe,Claudia Dain,Karen Hawkins

 The first two stories needed a copy editor stat. Each story involved a meet cute or ending in Hyde Park during the Regency period but not in the same year. The second two stories involve titled members of London society from Scotland.

 

I started reading this book prior to the announcement of #rippedbodicebingo, but it fits a square (an anthology), so I am already making a little progress on the challenge!

 

 

1. Chasing Miss Montford by Claudia Dain - 0 star

UGH. So I remembered some of the characters from another book I read from the author last summer. Hated that book and hated this story, so staying consistent at least. The author thinks gossip is a weapon and the women in the story "outwits" the men due to their use of gossip. All the characters are so shallow, they are the kiddie pools of Regency romance. As for the romance, it's a blink and you miss it kind of insta-love. Finally there is a deep thread of racism against Native Americans in this series.

 

2. A Waltz in the Park by Deb Marlowe - 4 stars

Another great installment in the Half Moon House series. Vickers and Addie made a great team, both in taking down his father and as a couple. Rosamond had a good character arc as well. And it was fun being back in the world of Hestia Wright's Regency.

 

3. Promises Made by Ava Stone - 1 star

A real clunker of a story thanks to an unbearable heroine. Ellie was a spoiled, shallow brat and I saw no redeeming quality in her to make Griffin want to be with her. Griffin could do soooo much better. There was no resolution to the secondary romance between Healyfield and Throssell, so why even have it in the novella?

 

4. Charlotte's Bed by Karen Hawkins - 4 stars

A great story from a new to me author. This story is a reunion story between Angus (Viscount MacThune) and Charlotte twenty years after Angus left for India to make his money. It was rounded out with two side characters who played matchmakers. At times angsty, at times sexy, this was a satisfying end to a very uneven anthology.

 

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url 2017-06-09 13:25
Because You Love to Hate Me | Q&A with Ameriie

Hey everyone!

By now, you've probably heard me say a lot on Because You Love to Hate Me, a YA villain-themed anthology edited by Ameriie that pairs booktubers with authors (cc: pre-order promoback cover reveal & anthology pairingfront cover reveal, original book blog post announcing the anthologyoriginal EW cover reveal post (read Ameriie's introduction)).

So then you won't be surprised that today I have a Q&A with Ameriie, who is both the anthology editor and the author with whom I was paired. If you're curious at all about the anthology, check out what Ameriie has to say!

 
TRANSCRIPT:

TB: All right, our Hangout on Air is live. I am here with Ameriie tonight to have a Q&A about, uh, Because You Love to Hate Me. Hey, everyone! I'm --

A: Hi, everyone!

TB: -- Tina Burke, and there's Ameriie. [laughs]

A: This is our first Hangout. Neither of us have ever done a Google Hangout (on Air) before.

TB: All right, so maybe for our starter question, let's get Ameriie talking about what inspired her story from that blurb. How did she go through her process?

A: Oh, so you know, of course I have the sampler, woohoo! It's so crazy 'cause it --

TB: [holds up sampler to the camera]

A: -- aaahh, yeah! It's so beautiful. It's going to be so great. Just in case, just in case anyone is wondering, this is going to be velvet touch, so it's like soft touch - I believe that's the technical term for it. And the black blood is going to be shiny and also 3D. And this [points to the flower] is going to be foiled, it's going to be very shimmery. It's going to be very --

TB: Beautiful.

A: -- pretty.

TB: Right?

A: I'm really excited. It's going to be a lot thicker than this obviously, because this is just the samples, so make sure you guys all pre-order that baby. So yeah, so it was kind of cool, you gave me a lot of great prompts, 'cause you know a lot of people don't know that. But um, a lot of people don't know that uh, you know each, each contributor was giving each author a set of - I think it was four - four, was it? A set of four, four, at least four. Could've been more, but at least four. And you were prepared--

TB: --I broke the rules. [laughs]

A: It was awesome. It was like a list. That was awesome, though. Um, and so I chose, you know, "Jack and the Beanstalk" as well as a certain Evil Tyrant That Shall Remain Unnamed, because we don't want to let the cat out of the bag. We don't want people to google him yet. You'll know that it's a he. So I'm really excited about that. But there was another one, too, that was like I was very tempted to do, and it was really neck in neck, and that was, I forgot her name, but she's the, like the vampire. The uh--

TB: --Countess, but I can't remember her name right now either, [laughs], oh! [Note: this is who we were discussing].

A: --on her too. I just love villainous-- see, I always rooted for the villain. We've had so many conversations about this, it's always about the villain. Seeing the other side, and trying to understand what's going on with that person, and I think it's just, that's kind of, I've been obsessed with that. Like forever. Just 'cause I always, I have a lot of empathy for the villain, I think I always do. Ever since I was a kid. So a lot of those things that people would think are funny, like a lot of the Roald Dahl books in which the child is playing all these pranks on the teacher, I was just thinking, maybe the teacher is sad and lonely when they go home, there's no one there. There's so many reasons why they're this way. How about you? How easy was it, or how difficult was it to come up (not only) with so many prompts, but just getting into that head space in the first place?

TB: Oh, I love ideas. It's just like looking up research and then I'm not the one who actually has to write them. [laughs]

A: [laughs]

TB: You know, I mean anyone can daydream.

A: But you write, too. You do write, so you know, you know all about that side of things as well.

TB: I don't know. I think the, the stage of writing that's literally the easiest to do is coming up with the ideas. The ideas, right? 'Cause you can think of so many different things, you're like this would be so cool if I got read about it, but then like, actually exploring the details and making them come to life is what's really key and what's really fascinating whenever you're reading. Right? And that's what you do so well with, like, the little details in your story are excellent.

A: Oh, thank you! For those of you guys who don't know, Christina's also my critique partner. And she's awesome. She's really helped me a lot, um, she's, I think you've read everything. You've read everything. You've read everything, I believe.

TB: Not what's-its-name, Chloe, right? I don't think I've--

A: --Oh, no one's read The Chloes yet. It's now called The Chloes. No one has read that yet. Just me. I'm the only person who's read it, and yeah, it's got some freshening up to do. For those of you guys who don't know, Christina and I met on Maggie Stiefvater's critique partner find--

TB: Yeah.

A: --which is, if you're a writer, definitely check out Maggie Stiefvater's critique partner find. It's kind of a love match thing. It's really hilarious the way she sets that up. But we met that way, and we kind of exchanged some papers, and then we kind of just you know, it really just worked for us, we really trust each other's opinion. So then of course when we did this project, I was definitely like, I must have Christina give me my prompts. [laughs]

TB: [laughs]

A: I just, I knew that I would love any prompt that you would give me, so I was less, I wasn't as nervous. 'Cause the idea of getting a prompt from someone is really nerve-wracking--

TB: It is, but I have no doubt that you would've been able to succeed with any prompt that you were given.

A: Thank you. I actually broke into a little mini sweat when I just said it 'cause just thinking about it was like, what if you can't deliver? What if you don't know what to do? What if you don't know how to write the right short story? And then you're getting a prompt. It was really, really cool. I'm really happy that the two combined, because I was able to throw in my love for "Jack and the," well, it's not even a love for "Jack and the Beanstalk" 'cause I always really liked that story, but because I was always indignant about that story. About the giant--

TB: Really?

A: --Dying in the end, and how he was just like after his gold that Jack was stealing. I was like, well, hold up--

TB: Hold on, Jack--

A: --Jack is horrible! He's a thief.

TB: [laughs]

A: Why is the giant the bad guy? I didn't understand why the giant was the bad guy. I, I, for the life of me, could not understand that.

TB: Giants are always the bad person or the bad creature, and when they're not, it's just like the exception to the rule.

A: You wrote a great breakdown on giants and what they've always meant to people and how what they symbolize. Do you want to go into a little bit of that as far as what you wrote in there?

TB: Aw, I only have like two pages, you can't tease that. [laughs]

A: [laughs]

TB: Um, oh, there's something you said that, oh, I mean you're also the person who came up with the entire idea for the book. Do you want to walk us through that? 'Cause you're the one--

A: Yeah!

TB: --who gathered everyone, gathered the idea of Because You Love to Hate Me.

A: Oh, just combining the two worlds, 'cause you know we both have been very involved in the bookish side of things as far as bookish internet things, you know, definitely been through so many iterations of that. When, if we ever meet you guys in person, we will have stories. It's, people are so passionate about it on the internet and then I felt like it'd be a really good way to combine the two. My agent also really, really helped. You know, it's definitely like both of our brainchild. Brainchild? Our brainchild. It was our brainchild. And I've always loved villains, so it just made sense to combine you know, villains, and then bringing in youtube, doing something that hadn't been done before, not that there are always anthologies, but to have an anthology, a YA anthology with villains and adding in booktube was just such a cool element. And then you know, it was just trying to bring everything together. And that was kind of hard, because you know, I was trying to reach other people I didn't know, most of the people I didn't know, and I just kinda had to go out there and then ask. Asking the authors was really hard as well 'cause booktube, we kinda, you know, there's like one degree of separation really, and with authors, it can be like that, kinda sorta maybe. But it's just different because you don't want to be the crazy person on twitter like, hello, I've got this --

TB: [laughs]

A: --project, and I would love for you, you know what I mean? People ask them things like that all the time. I just did not want to add myself to that list. So, but, I was really happy, because I made some new friends, and I was able to pull together the project, and I did not do it by myself, because I mean, like, without everyone involved, every single contributor, without my agency, there's no way that it would've happened. There's just so many moving parts, 'cause I think there's like twenty-six of us, right? Yeah, I mean, usually I think an anthology, my agent was saying, is like thirteen 'cause you know you're dealing with the contributors. And you might have a little more if you have someone writing a foreword and that kind of thing, but to have like twenty-six, it's just, that's a lot. But actually it's gone pretty smoothly.

TB: Do you think that you would do something similar like this in the future?

A: Oh, yeah! Absolutely. Absolutely. It did kinda take over my life a little bit more than I thought it would--

TB: [laughs]

A: --'cause there was a lot of emailing, and like logistical things, and I was like hold on, what is going on? [laughs] But it was really cool. It was, it was a different, a different kind of exercise I guess, you know. But I definitely would do it again. I have some ideas. I've got some ideas. There are some cool pre-order options, pre-order swag by the way. We have notepad, an exclusive notepad and pencil, like a matching set, which is really cute, and a bookplate, which is going to be signed by me. I would love it if everyone could sign it, but logistically that would be really--

TB: --it'd be impossible. [laughs] Also, you're responsible--

A: [laughs]

TB: --you're the responsible one.

A: Yes, that would definitely be a little crazy.

TB: So I was thinking that maybe we could wrap it up with uh, just like if there was one thing that you wanted to tell everyone about the anthology, what would it be?

A: Oh, that's a really good question. Um, if there was one thing that I would say I would want everyone to know, it's that a lot of people put a lot of work into it. Like everyone really, really brought out their creative guns. The essays, the booktuber contributions, they're so different, um, people chose different formats, they, they each offer something, something different to say about villains. You could obviously say we love morally grey characters, and we love when things aren't so black and white, however, everyone has more. Everyone expands on that in a different way, in a different angle. And that, that was really difficult, because when you have thirteen people who are talking about villains, you are going to get, obviously everyone -- well, actually we did have one person who didn't really love villains, but you're going to hear things--

TB: what--

A: --the, yeah, one person usually does not root for the villain. And was like nope, the villain is never my favorite, that was one person. [laughs] So that was interesting. But for the most part, people were like, I like the morally ambiguous grey character, but then you went deeper, and from a different angle, and each essay, each writing contribution is so specific, which was amazing, and on the author side, we got to see some really, really, it's, there's a big diverse list of villains there. It goes from the really atrocious to some of the more empathetic, um, villains. There are different styles of the story as well. Um, we have some straightforward tales as well as there's a really cool texting story that's told all in text, so I think we really got to have fun, and I think just having the prompt parameters made everyone start thinking, what's a different way I can structure the story? Or my writing piece, which I thought that was really cool. My story's not like any text or writing backwards or anything like that, it's pretty much straight up story. [laughs]

TB: But don't be underselling your story. I love it and everyone else is going to love it, too, girl.

A: Thank you. I do really like my story as well. I do really like my story as well. I love it.

TB: Woohoo! All right, so Because You Love to Hate Me is being released on July 11th, and we hope that you all can pre-order between now and then. If you want to join us on twitter, from June 5th through July 24th, we're going to be talking about villains then, again, and you'll probably hear more from us in the future, soon, too, [laughs] about the anthology.

A: We're all on the internet. Make sure you guys pre-order! Support the anthology 'cause we want to also do this again.

TB: Woohoo! All right.

A: Bye!

---

If you want to pre-order, here are some links--

 
After all, there is a pre-order promotion!
 
Also feel free to add on Goodreads :D.

On Mondays, from June 5 - July 24, check out the Bloomsbury twitter feed, as we'll be discussing villains more generally. You'll also hear more about the anthology pretty soon from all of us!

The anthology releases July 11, 2017 from Bloomsbury. I hope you all are as excited about it as I am!
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url 2017-06-05 13:25
Because You Love to Hate Me Pre-order & Chatting about Villains

Hi, everyone!

Guess what? If you pre-order Because You Love to Hate Me, a YA villain-themed anthology that pairs booktubers/bloggers with authors (cc: initial announcement, cover reveal, back cover and author pairing reveal), you will get a notebook and pencil set, and a bookplate signed by Ameriie.

The pre-order is open to anyone in the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, or New Zealand, and applies to both print and ebook formats.


As the Bloomsbury post says:

"Submit your proof of preorder here by July 10th, 2017 in the USA and Canada, July 12 in the UK and ROI, and August 31st, 2017 in Australia and New Zealand."


Read the post for the full details if you're interested.

 

If you want to pre-order, here are some links--

 

 

Also feel free to add on Goodreads :D.

 

And on Mondays from June 5 - July 24, check out the Bloomsbury twitter feed, as we'll be discussing villains more generally. You'll also hear more about the anthology pretty soon from all of us!

Yay, I hope you're as excited as I am!

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review 2017-06-04 01:58
Rogues
Rogues -

Rogues, the short story anthology edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, contains over twenty stories of above average quality and wonderful use of the titular quality that connects all the stories.  The twenty-one stories from several genres features significant characters as rogues no matter gender, species, and orientation from authors both well-known to general audiences and some note so.

 

Of the twenty-one stories featured in Rogues the three best not only were high quality writing and features very roguish characters, but also were able to introduce a reader into the already established universe they take place in that only enhanced the story.  The opening story “Tough Times All Over” takes place within the First Law world that Joe Abercrombie established himself writing about, “The Inn of the Seven Blessings” by Matthew Hughes takes place with in the world of Archonate, and “A Cargo of Ivories” by Garth Nix takes place within the world of Sir Hereward and Mister Fitz.  While these were the best, the stories by Joe R. Lansdale, Michael Stanwick, and Patrick Rothfuss set within an establish world they had create were also very good.

 

The stories especially created for this anthology is a mixture of the very good, the bad, and those that were just missing something.  Daniel Abraham’s “The Meaning of Love”, David W. Ball’s “Provenance”, and Scott Lynch’s “A Year and A Day in Old Theradane” were wonderfully written stories in two separate genres that were in the top seven stories of the whole collection.  “Now Showing” by Connie Willis is unfortunately one of the worst stories of the collection which was a shame considering that she wrote about several interesting ideas, but the execution with the characters crushed the story.  Yet some of the stories while good and having roguish characters just felt like they were missing something: “Heavy Metal” was missing a fuller backstory to the main character and a better understanding of the supernatural powers at work yet once done could become a fascinating future series for Cherie Priest, and “The Curious Affair of the Dead Wives” was fantastic homage to Sherlock Holmes and John Watson by Lisa Tuttle that just felt it could have been more.

 

Yet some of the biggest disappointments in this collection were from established authors and their established series.  The worst story of the collection is “A Better Way to Die” by Paul Cornell that takes place in his alternate history timeline that features the spy Johnathan Hamilton but the reader has no idea about the world if you had never read an earlier story that featured Hamilton.  And my personal disappointment was “The Rogue Prince” that George R.R. Martin wrote as an Archmaester of the Citadel as a biography of Daemon Targaryen but was more of a history of the events leading up to The Dance of the Dragons that he told in “The Princess and the Queen”.

 

The twenty-one stories that make up Rogues feature--more than not--very good short stories from across genres whether in established worlds or one-offs.  Yet like all anthologies, it is a mixed bag in quality and expectations, but often than not the reader will be satisfied after finishing these stories with time well spent in several wonderful settings following some very unscrupulous individiuals.

 

Individual Story Ratings

Tough Times All Over by Joe Abercrombie (4.5/5)

What Do You Do? by Gillian Flynn (3.5/5)

The Inn of the Seven Blessings by Matthew Hughes (5/5)

Bent Twig by Joe R. Lansdale (4/5)

Tawny Petticoats by Michael Stanwick (4/5)

Provenance by David W. Ball (4/5)

Roaring Twenties by Carrie Vaughn (3/5)

A Year and A Day in Old Theradane by Scott Lynch (4/5)

Bad Brass by Bradley Denton (2.5/5)

Heavy Metal by Cherie Priest (3/5)

The Meaning of Love by Daniel Abraham (4/5)

A Better Way to Die by Paul Cornell (1/5)

Ill Seen in Tyre by Steven Saylor (3/5)

A Cargo of Ivories by Garth Nix (4.5/5)

Diamonds from Tequila by Walter Jon Williams (3/5)

The Caravan to Nowhere by Phyllis Eisenstein (2.5/5)

The Curious Affair of the Dead Wives by Lisa Tuttle (3/5)

How the Marquis Got His Coat Back by Neil Gaiman (3.5/5)

Now Showing by Connie Willis (2/5)

The Lightning Tree by Patrick Rothfuss (4/5)

The Rogue Princes, or, A King’s Brother by George R.R. Martin (2.5/5)

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text 2017-06-02 23:37
Reading progress update: I've read 806 out of 832 pages.
Rogues -

The Rogue Prince, or, A King's Brother by George R.R. Martin

 

One of the major political and military individuals in the Targaryen Civil War, also known as The Dance of the Dragons, Prince Dameon Targaryen etched his name into the history of Westeros well before he fought for his wife's right to the Iron Throne.  Living almost two hundred years before the main events of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire, "The Rogue Prince" details the life of a man who was grandson and brother to kings as well as father and grandfather of kings in a line that leads to present.

 

Daemon Targaryen is a man whose actions would have ramifications for centuries to come, yet in his own biography he is overshadowed by the events and happenings that would lead to The Dance of the Dragons.  Yet while most of the text focused on the background to the war Daemon would fight, events of his life that continued to shape Westeros were explored.  After failed stints on the small council, Daemon would take charge of the city watch of King's Landing and reform them to become the Gold Cloaks.  Daemon's alliance with House Velaryon in war, marriage, and politics that would have a profound effect on the later war and it's aftermath.  And Daemon's rivalry with Hand of the King Otto Hightower over his brother entire reign that gave the King no end of trouble.

 

Written as a history of events leading up to The Dance in the form of a biography by an Archmaester of the Citadel, Martin mimics many popular biographies of the present day in writing this fictional history.  Like many biographies of major players in the American Civil War in which the chain of events and movements that lead to the Civil War at times takes over the biography, Martin's "The Rogue Prince" follows the lead up to the Targaryen Civil War more than the titular subject yet in a very intriguing way that makes the reader wish Marin might one day write an actual story of one of Daemon's great adventures or misdeeds.

 

"The Rogue Prince" is both like and essentially a prequel to "The Princess and the Queen", a vivid retelling of history of events that surprisingly do connect with George R.R. Martin's main series as well.  However, instead of following the promised roguish Daemon the history is not a biography but a backdoor history text that chronicles the events over the years that lead to The Dance of the Dragons.  Thus even though an avid reader of history I enjoyed this piece, the focus away from the roguish titular character leaves something to be desired of the whole.

 

2 1/2 STARS

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