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review 2018-03-12 16:58
G. Willow Wilson is the best
Alif the Unseen - G. Willow Wilson

Picked this up because of a book club selection (and I'm a fan of Wilson's work on Ms. Marvel). I think I like her comics work better, but I thoroughly enjoyed the merging/analogous relationship between magic and technology!

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review 2018-03-05 20:12
BLOG TOUR, REVIEW & #GIVEAWAY - Dark Glitter (Wild Hunt Motorcycle Club #1) by Tate James & C.M. Stunich
Dark Glitter (Wild Hunt Motorcycle Club #1) - Tate James,C.M. Stunich

Dark Glitter is the first book in the Wild Hunt Motorcycle Club series, and you are thrown in right at the start, with loads of characters, multiple points of view, and a main character who doesn't know who she is, what she is, or where she came from. She has moments of clarification, but then it fades. Her body is battered, and she knows that she has spent the last five years being tortured. More than that, she is lost.

Whether by luck or by planning, she turns up outside the one place that can help her, and which is where she needs to be. She faces overwhelming lust for three individuals, but only two of them seem to return the feeling. You also have other characters as to figure out just where they sit in the whole plot line.

This was a great book although, fair warning, it does end on a cliffhanger, so be prepared to throw your kindle at the wall. The storyline is fast paced, Ciarah is a strong and sassy heroine who knows how to stand up for herself (when she isn't being tortured), and the scenery is vivid enough to see as you read.

A thoroughly enjoyable start to the series, and I can't wait for it to continue. The Lord of Winter is definitely my favourite, so I look forward to knowing the others a bit better. Absolutely recommended by me.

* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *

Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!




Source: archaeolibrarianologist.blogspot.de/2018/03/blog-tour-review-giveaway-dark-glitter.html
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review 2018-03-02 22:07
Cherokee Stories of the Turtle Island Liars' Club by Christopher Teuton
Cherokee Stories of the Turtle Island Liars Club: Dakasi Elohi Anigagoga Junilawisdii (Turtle, Earth, the Liars, Meeting Place) - Christopher B Teuton,America Meredith

It’s hard for me to rate a book of folklore. Its primary purpose is to preserve stories and information about a culture, rather than to entertain, and perhaps the most important target audience here is people of Cherokee heritage who may not have much connection to traditional culture. Not being one of those people, I can’t claim that my review will reflect others’ experiences with the book.

The author, Christopher Teuton, is a professor of Cherokee descent who spends time on tribal lands in Oklahoma with four older men who jokingly call themselves the “Turtle Island Liars’ Club.” The four are involved in various ways in the preservation of traditional culture, and are all storytellers. The book is built of many short sections, interspersing stories which range from less than a page to a few pages in length with sections in which the group hangs out and discusses various aspects of Cherokee culture. The stories range from legends to accounts from the lives of the storytellers and their families, and while some read like traditional tales, others clearly have had modern updating: animals encounter steel traps or become roadkill, for instance. But there’s no pretense at telling an authoritative version of any of the tales; in discussing their art, the storytellers make clear that the stories are alive and changing, that different people tell different versions and they even tell different versions themselves to different audiences. And in fact I have encountered different versions of a couple of these stories elsewhere.

I found the stories to be interesting and enjoyable, but Teuton made an excellent decision in choosing to include more than that; the short topical sections in between provide grounding and context, and I generally found the factual information interesting. Most books of folklore seem to be compilations of stories without telling readers anything about the storytellers, their lives, or their wider culture, beyond what one might glean from the tales they tell. This one provides a much fuller picture of Cherokee life, at least as seen through the eyes of these four men.

The fact that a fairly small number of voices – of men from roughly the same generation with similar life experiences – make up the book is a drawback. Another, at least in my eyes, is the way the author renders speech: at times it is almost like reading a transcript, with the “ums,” the people interjecting with “yeah” or “mmhm,” the sentences that trail off without communicating anything. Journalists clean up speech to make it more concise and avoid making their subjects look dumb, and Teuton doesn’t explain why he chose not to, though he does discuss other decisions about how to shape the book. Fortunately though, he’s talking to people who are used to public speaking, and the storytellers’ voices along with the brevity of the sections mitigate the dryness of the author’s writing, which is quite evident in his introduction.

Overall, I found this book engaging, and readers with a particular interest in Cherokee culture or folklore will likely enjoy it. A general audience may become more impatient, though there is certainly wisdom about life in the book that applies regardless of culture. Also, four of the stories are transcribed in both Cherokee and English, which is fun.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-02-28 17:28
Enid Blyton in Oxford
Death on the Cherwell - Mavis Doriel Hay
Death on the Cherwell - Mavis Doriel Hay

Meh.  I think if the protagonists of this mystery had been some 3 or 5 years younger, and if I'd read this in my teens or preteens, I'd have loved it -- this is exactly the sort of book I used to swallow way back when (Enid Blyton's O'Sullivan Twins / St. Clare's and Famous Five series, The Three Investigators, the odd Nancy Drew); except that this book is set among Oxford college undergraduates.  And therein, to a large extent, lies the problem:  What would have been precocious in a high school student and a teenager comes across as simply silly and unreasonable in a college student, however much the author may preface her book with the warning that "[u]ndergraduates, especially those in their first year, are not, of course, quite sane or quite adult".  And I, in turn, am no longer the heroines' own age (and aspiring to their daring and their spirit of adventure), but several decades older, and able to look back on my own university years secure and jaded in the knowledge that even as a first year I'd likely have scorned the behavior of these girls -- and the mere attempt to solve a crime that is quite obviously in a very capable police inspector's hands anyway -- as supremely unreasonable; indeed, as risible. 


It certainly also doesn't help that Dorothy L. Sayers, in my absolute favorite among her Lord Peter Wimsey / Harriet Vane mysteries -- Gaudy Night, which coincidentally was published the same year as this book -- set the standard, once and for all, for how you "do" a mystery in a university setting; moreover, a mystery set, like this book, in an all-female college.  And yes, Sayers's book does include undergraduates, both male (from other Oxford colleges) and female.  And male and female alike, they do exhibit their share of silly behavior.  But they're nevertheless decidedly more rounded, multi-dimensional and capable of rational behavior and foresight than Hay's undergraduates are here.


So, I am definitely not the right audience for this book.  More than that, though, unlike Hay's Santa Klaus Murder, which I rather liked, this novel simply lacks depth; its plot is as shallow as its characters, half the clues don't seem to go anywhere in particular (even in the final reveal), and clichés abound -- including a number of jarringly racist clichés.  This is a pity particularly in light of the fact that Hay does tackle a serious issue which was of tremendous relevance to women in her day, and would remain to be so for decades to come -- not only, but even more so, in a professional environment,

namely, single / illegitimate motherhood,

(spoiler show)

and which would have deserved to be put front and center and explored in depth.  Still, I'm giving a fair amount of kudos to her for the fact that she is addressing this topic at all, which, together with the odd moment of more competent writing or (dar I say it?) even amusement, accounts for the fact that I'm rating this book, overall, as average instead of sub-par.


Stephen Booth, in his introduction to the British Library Crime Classics edition of this novel (yes -- for once it's not introduced by series consultant Martin Edwards) deplores that Hay only published three mysteries before turning to other things, of which this and The Santa Klaus Murder are two and Murder on the Underground is the third.  Judging by The Santa Klaus Murder and by some bits and pieces of talent shining through here, that may well be true.  I am glad, however, that she didn't try to make a career out of treading the same paths so successfully trodden by Enid Blyton, Robert Arthur and their ilk.  Or at least, I am glad that she didn't try to make a career writing mysteries that have undergraduate college students for protagonists ...


I read this for the "Education, Education, Education" square / chapter of the Detection Club bingo (it's not one of the mysteries accorded a special essay-length portrayal in Martin Edwards's Story of Classic Crime in 100 books, but it is definitely more than merely name-checked in the corresponding chapter; and indeed, the image for the relevant square of the Detection Club bingo card is taken from this book's cover), as well as -- as an additional book -- for the "H" square of the Women Writers Bingo / Challenge.


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review 2018-02-28 02:35
Review of "Dust" (Jacb's Ladder #1) by Elizabeth Bear
Dust - Elizabeth Bear

This reader's personal opinion, ©2018, all rights reserved, not to be quoted, clipped or used in any way by goodreads, Google Play, amazon.com or other commercial booksellers* 

This was an uneven read for me.  Had an air of From the Legend of Biel - Mary Staton, Zelazny's Amber books and thousands of SF&F with characters in episodes exploring about a derelict ship, space stations, worlds, dimensions,  or whatever — mostly the atmosphere of familiar reads was actually wonderful.


One of those books better in concept to me then in the actual read.  I get the deep issues like genetic manipulation, class struggles, etc.  Not really from the book description itself which was misleading.  The description of this book the next in series makes is better:

"For hundred of years, the generation ship Jacob’s Ladder—conceived of by a religious cult as an experiment in forced evolution—has drifted derelict in orbit around a pair of dying stars."

Others likely would rate higher; I'm not fond of too much wandering about places not developed enough to become interesting and not really adding to the storyline.  Too many introduced, then moved on from.  There was a story, but much was spent just one adventure after another inside ship parts.  


I might have DNF'ed except reading to catch up for a group read of book #2, Chill - Elizabeth Bear  and it was an interesting concept from a favorite author.  Never really got a sense of urgency.


I think the POV changes were handled well.  Felt sympathetic to many characters.  Some hiw just didn't really connect to the characters, though.  Leaving me with a story that ddn't prigress quickly and irritating scant hints at how evolution was working on the world's within world's that were spaceship environs.

*©2018.  All rights reserved except permission is granted to author or publisher (except Penumbra Publishing) to reprint/quote in whole or in part. I may also have cross-posted on The Reading Room, Libib, LibraryThing, and other sites including retailers like kobo and Barnes and Noble. Posting on any site does not grant that site permission to share with any third parties or indicate release of copyright.  


Ratings scale used in absence of a booklikes suggested rating scale:

★★★★★ = All Time Favorite 
★★★★½ = Extraordinary Book. Really Loved It.
★★★★☆ = Loved It.
★★★½☆ = Really Liked.
★★★☆☆ = Liked.
★★½☆☆ = Liked parts; parts only okay. Would read more by author.
★★☆☆☆ = Average.   Okay. 
★½☆☆☆ = Disliked or meh? but kept reading in hopes would improve.
★☆☆☆☆ = Loathed It. Possibly DNF and a torturous read.
½☆☆☆☆ = So vile was a DNF or should have been. Cannot imagine anyone liking.  (Might also be just an "uploaded" word spew or collection that should not be dignified by calling itself a "published book." If author is going batshit crazy in the blogosphere over reviews -- I now know why they are getting bad reviews.  Or maybe author should take remedial classes for language written in until basic concepts like using sentences sink in. Is author even old enough to sign a publishing contract or do they need a legal guardian to sign for them?)

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