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review 2017-11-21 01:58
A wonderful book about one of the best TV shows ever made.
Breaking Bad 101: The Complete Critical Companion - Alan Sepinwall

So, I'm pretty sure I don't need to explain what Breaking Bad is, do I? One of the greatest TV dramas of all time, Mr. Chips turns into Scarface, et cetera, et cetera. This book is a collection of brief essays about each episode, a critical companion, fan resource, and all around handy book.

 

Most of these chapters started out as episode recaps on Alan Sepinwall's blog generally posted a day or two after the original airing -- a couple were written just for this book because he didn't recap each episode in season 1 and a later episode deserved a better recap (for reasons Sepinwall explains) -- although the original version is included as well. He does take out some of he speculation and whatnot from the original posts to provide a nice, clean look at each episode. It's more than just an episode recap, he looks at the arcs, the acting, writing, cinematography; in just a few pages he gets to the heart of the episode and helps you see all things that Gilligan et. al. were doing. The real gems are the footnotes and sidebar pieces that dive in a little further to the nitty-gritty details -- why was this decision made, where'd actor X come from, and so on. Seriously, fantastic footnotes.

 

This is a quick and wonderful read if you do it start to finish -- or you can just thumb through, stopping at random points to read up on an episode. The book works both ways. I imagine the best way to read it is with a remote in one hand, a DVD/Blu-Ray disc in your player and the book in the other hand. Watch an episode, read the chapter -- skipping around in the episode to re-examine shots/sequences, etc. I haven't done that, but man, I'm tempted to.

 

A few other things worthy of note: Damon Lindelof wrote a very amusing foreword; Max Dalton provided 12 black and white illustrations that are just perfect; the dust-jacket design is great; but more than that, the actual cover is even better; and lastly, the whole book is so well-designed and pleasing to the eye, it's nice just to look at without reading. I don't mention those kind of things enough, and need to get better about it.

 

Now, I've been a fan of Sepinwall's recaps/writing since the days he posted about NYPD Blue on Usenet. I also read all these posts from Season 2 on within a few hours of their original posting (I didn't start watching until after the season 1 finale -- so I read all of those in a couple of days, still pretty fresh). So I was pretty predisposed to enjoy this book, but I'm pretty sure I would have anyway.

 

Sepinwall is a fan of Breaking Bad, most of the stories, most of the performances, etc. But he's a thoughtful fan, not a mindless one -- he is critical of some things, this isn't just someone being a fanboy. I heartily encourage fans of the show to pick this up -- or people who've been meaning to watch it, but haven't (this book would be a much better companion than your friends who will be patronizing about you finally getting around to watching it).

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2017/11/16/breaking-bad-101-by-alan-sepinwall
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review 2017-08-29 23:24
Book Review: Steel & Stone: Companion Collection By Annette Marie
Steel & Stone Companion Collection (Steel & Stone Book 6) - Annette Marie

 

This companion novel made the series that much better! I loved every single story, but Lyre has found a special place in my heart. I enjoyed seeing the same situations from a perspective that wasn't Piper. I like Piper, but being in Lyre or Ash's head is much more interesting considering they've been alive for centuries (it seems) and are much more knowledgeable in everything than Piper is.

 

If you couldn't tell by now, I adored being in Lyre's head. Annette Marie did this character justice with her writing and I'm so happy for that! Lyre proved to be just as secretive and intriguing as I was expecting him to be. I'm officially hyped for his prequel series.

 

Looking from Piper's eyes I assumed Ash would have complicated and tumultuous thoughts. From the stories from his point of view, he came off as nonchalant. It almost felt like a calm before the storm. It was interesting but not as interesting as Lyre.

 

Overall this was a collection of interesting stories and makes an amazing companion to the original series. These stories gave me a much better understanding of Ash and Lyre which would make re-reading the Steel & Stone Series that much more fascinating.

 

My Favorite Quotes:

 

"Once, Ash had called Lyre an angel of death. Tonight, he would do the name justice.  "

 

"Incubi are lover's, but no woman's true love."

 

"The past lies in rest, its ghosts long slumbering, and I would not disturb them. Let us begin again."

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-07-16 01:50
The Lady's Companion
The Lady's Companion - Carla Kelly

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

The Lady’s Companion by Carla Kelly is the latest in her backlist I finished a few days ago. It was amazing, to say the least. A very heartwarming traditional regency with an sweet heroine, a superb hero made grand with Ms. Kelly’s beautiful storytelling.

I decided to bring The Lady’s Companion up my TBR pile because for a reason. A few months ago, I read another book by Ms. Kelly titled Marriage of Mercy, where the reviewers criticized the book for having almost the same storyline as this one. Marriage of Mercy is a later publication (2012) whereas The Lady’s Companion was first released in 1996. The whole notion definitely intrigued me. I was expecting a pretty same storyline with different names for characters, and I agree with them to a certain extent. However, the storyline itself was very different. I mean very, if you can excuse the first 2 chapters where the h Susan’s fate spin almost exactly like that of Grace’s. I would call it plagiarism had the later not also been Ms. Kelly’s publication. I still don’t know how can anyone say both had the same stories so I decided I’m just gonna ignore it and enjoy. Which I did thank you!

Susan Hampton, daughter to Sir Rodney, should’ve had an amazing life with balls and parties and dreams of suitors, marriage and her own family. But no thanks to her spendthrift father, it’s now all just that— a dream. Since her mother passed when she was young, Susan, now 25, had been living on her father’s extravagant, and very fantastical, dreams of this and that—a grand life with loads of money he’d win of these days. Sir Rodney’s gambling habit was so extreme that everyone knew him, and avoided him as much as possible. So far, he’d sold every single thing worth selling one by one to get the money needed. Not only that, he has to live like a peer of the realm that he was, which he does even if he can’t afford it. You can only imagine Susan’s shattered dreams as well as disillusionment.

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text 2017-06-01 09:25
RT Booklover's Convention 2017 - Day Four
Tiny Pretty Things - Dhonielle Clayton,Sona Charaipotra
The Midnight Breed Series Companion - Lara Adrian
Bring Me Back - Karen Booth
Barefoot Bay: Shoulder to Lean On (Kindle Worlds Novella) - Morgan Malone
Killer Countdown (Man on a Mission) - Amelia Autin
Midnight in Legend, TN: Small Town Romance in the Great Smoky Mountains (The McClains of Legend, Tennessee Book 1) - Magdalena Scott
Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs - Molly Harper
Ready to Were: Shift Happens Series Book One - Robyn Peterman
Hungry Like the Wolf - Paige Tyler
Delicate Freakn' Flower - Eve Langlais

Day One

Day Two

Day Three

 

Woke up on Friday morning thinking this convention is too long. I think if I go in the future I will just do the weekend pass and not the full convention because boy howdy was I tired. Not jet-lagged, just tired from being around so many people. I did breakfast but skipped the early morning author signing. First panel I went to was completely chosen at random - Path of Responsible Representation hosted by YA authors Dhonielle Clayton and Sona Charaipotra (they write as a team the YA series Tiny Pretty Things). I liked this panel because the writers gave concrete examples of what to look for and what to avoid in works with diverse characters.

 

The next panel was The Worlds of Regency and Georgian Romance with authors Valerie Bowman, Anna Bradley, Eileen Dryer, Elizabeth Hoyt, and Julia Quinn. I was not impressed this panel or the questions. The panel kept going off on different tangents that had nothing to do with the topic. I left a little early to get in line for the next author signing event, but I don't think I missed anything worthwhile. A quote from Julia Quinn sums this panel up - "Who wouldn't want to marry a duke?" Real deep there (sarcasm font).

 

I then went to the 1001 Dark Nights Sparkler. I had one goal going into this event - meet Lara Adrian and get her to sign my personal copy of The Midnight Breeds Series Companion. She did and was lovely - and surprised to see someone having a companion book. I got a pic with her too. Day made 10x over. The organizers wanted the attendees to talk with each author there and ask them an "either/or" question, then fill out a card for a chance to win something. I didn't care about winning whatever prize because, once again, the room was too small for the amount of people inside. I left soon after meeting Lara and went for lunch.

 

Next author panel I went to was Seasoned Romance, Vintage Love with Karen Booth and Morgan Malone. Another diversity panel, but this one was about older characters and ageism. This trend of having older characters is making a small, but noticeable comeback thanks to self-publishing. The idea of older characters also work with other diverse characterizations such as race, sexuality, and religion (for example, a m/m featuring 40 year old men). There is a FB group called Seasoned Romance that connects authors with readers. Also, the FB group made a GR List of romances with older characters (heads up: there is a lot of Kristen Ashley's books on this list). They were giving away free books from authors in the FB group; I picked out Killer Countdown (Man on a Mission #6) by Amelia Autin and Midnight in Legend, TN (The McClains of Legend, Tennessee #1/ Ladies of Legend #1.2) by Magdalena Scott. I really enjoyed the conversation.

 

Last author panel for me was Shifters Between the Sheets with authors Molly Harper, Paige Tyler, Robyn Peterman, and Eve Langlais. I wanted to go to at least one paranormal panel, and this one was fun and funny; the ladies are not only fans of the subgenre but of each other's works. The questions were basic, but the answers were varied and experiences were talked about; each author came to writing books and paranormal genre from very different backgrounds. It was a great way to end the last day of panels.

 

I started to go to the Avon signing event, took one look at a line that was snaked five times around the door to the event, and said to myself "hell no" and went up to my room to relax. Soon I went out for dinner and when I came back, Twitter and the RT app were lit up with many unhappy attendees. Turns out the Avon event started 35-40 minutes late and some people were in line for a hour or more before the scheduled time. Again, there were also complaints of overcrowding and someone almost fainted. I'm so glad I skipped the event.

 

I went to the late night party, Magnolias and Moonshine, but didn't stay long. There was just nothing there to hold my interest. I did a quick turn about the room and then left. If you ever go to RT, feel free to skip the evening parties - they are more work than reward.

 

 

 

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