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text 2017-07-23 18:06
A work of no literary merit*
The Aggressors!! - Chris Hamlin,Shane Cuthbert,Marcus Harwood,Dan Lee,Chris Young,Brett Savory,Jeff Robinson

Full disclosure: I know Brett.   I talk to him each year at Readercon, I've made his wife cry with beautiful reviews of her poetry, and he talked to me about this book itself.  I was going to write a kinda mean review based on what I'd heard, and send it to him, but I'm not sure I'll bother sending it anymore. 


I also need to tell a story before I start talking about this work, just so you understand what I thought.   Back when I was reading a lot of Transformers fanfic, there was an author who wrote a couple stories.   (I found them again, although I vaguely recall them being in all caps and one about Jazz getting spanked that seems to be gone.   But here: read Happy Birthday, Megatron if you dare.)   This, guys, is one of the worst things I've read.   I mean, I know I've read some self-published bullshit and yet this...


And I'm awful because I laugh every time.   So when someone tells me a book they wrote is really bad, and I'm reading something superb by them, my mind kinda vaguely thinks, 'well, it't can't be that bad.   And I keep getting shocked that it is. 


So some backstory: this was a multi-author universe that the boys started when they were just that.   Boys.   Young men, if you will.  So I figured it might be some fun, even if it was offensive - which it seemed it might be.   I've also seen Brett bing his wife coffee, I've seen how kind and generous he is, and I've seen him interact with other customers.   I've seen him with the authors he works with, and he's always lovely.    I knew he'd written this a while ago and he wasn't the same person anymore.   As I mentioned, I also knew he'd grown into an amazing written, as evidenced by A Perfect Machine.   (Which I'm savoring, but also scared by because Brett was very vague about the ending and now I think it might be the machine story that makes me sad at the end.)


As far as the aggressors, I wasn't either amused enough to laugh or offended enough to really hate this work on that level.   (I did roll my eyes after the fourth or so time a 'cunt' - body part, not person - was described as smelly.   That was also the only time this book seemed really vicious.)  However, that fanfic I linked up there?    Those two stories might not have the punctuation and technical writing skill this book has, but they are at least more coherent.   Partly, I think, due to length: they didn't have time to get their plots quite as twisted up as this book did.   And at least those stories make me giggle like crazy.   


This book felt like it really, really wanted to make me laugh, but I was vaguely bored.   I kinda kept reading just to see if it got better, and it kinda never did.   If anything, it got more and more disconnected.  


So, yeah, I'm gonna write a brutally honest, full on mean review and not send the link to Brett at all. 


*Brett Savory himself gave me this title. 

**A Perfect Machine.   Brett signed this for me this year, too.

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text 2017-06-24 18:18
Reading progress update: I've read 7%.
Truly, Madly, Guilty - Signed/Autographed Copy - Liane Moriarty

Maybe I've been unfairly biased by all the negative reviews I've read for this, but 7% in and I can't take anymore of these annoying cliqued characters. I want to bash their heads together! Anyway, I'm going to swap this for Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison.


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review 2017-06-24 16:22
Truly, Madly, Guilty - Liane Moriarty 
Truly, Madly, Guilty - Signed/Autographed Copy - Liane Moriarty

It's not a thriller.


Imagine that line as spoken by Arnold Schwarzenegger to his class in Kindergarten Cop. I start here because I saw a review saying what a disappointing thriller it was, and it would be disappointing if that was what Moriarty were shooting for. It's also not a romance, or a mystery, or a literary novel, although it does share some elements with those.


What it is is a book about regular middle class suburban couples who experience a trauma together, and how it affects their lives thereafter. It's not a big trauma, it's not newsworthy, but it affects them all, and their little kids, too. And because the author takes her work seriously, there is much more to it than just that, humor, and backstory, and a way through, and a future.


I love books like this about living in after some bad thing. Fairy tales are important because they teach us that the witch or the monster can be killed, these books (and I hope someone has a short, catchy name for the genre that isn't sexist, because I sure don't) these books demonstrate how to live through the bad things and still have a good life. I don't believe stories about people living through horrible events and being stoic and saintly and a good example. Pain doesn't make people stronger or better, it makes us angry, and short-tempered, and hell to get along with. And of course, we all have pain and most of it is garden-variety common and of no interest to others. And the older we get the more time we spend attending funerals, the more people we have to lose. These books remind us that we can still laugh at the wake, that there are many ways to comfort one another in our loss.


I'm on my way to a funeral soon 

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text 2017-06-24 03:38
The Sound of Broken Ribs now in stock!

Thunderstorm Books has announced that my new novel, The Sound of Broken Ribs, is now in stock. The signed limited edition hardcover will begin shipping on Monday. If you haven't ordered the regular edition (deluxe edition coming this winter) you can do so here: 




Thank you for your support. I hope you dig the book.




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review 2017-03-11 19:54
108 Days ★★★★☆
108 Days - Lisa Lindell

“I am appalled. The doctors don’t actually enter the room to examine the patient? They read the chart, full of lies and omissions, and look through the window. Well they can see a nice IV pole when they look in the window. I guess none of the dozens of nurses we’ve told about his face bothered to note in his chart, ‘Wife concerned about disappearing, bleeding face.’ This also explains his eyes. The doctors never bothered to look at the patient, and none of those nurses bothered to write, ‘Wife concerned about melting eyeballs.’"


While this book was not a pleasure to read, there was value in doing so, as a health care professional. It provides insight from the family’s point of view into how hospital care is provided, communicated, and coordinated. There is also value in this first-hand account of how dysfunctional family relationships can adversely impact the providers’ ability to communicate and coordinate care. Who should the health care providers talk to? Who can make medical decisions? Wife, mother, father, brother, sister, cousin? Girlfriend? Partner? Without a medical power of attorney, this became a vicious power struggle between family members that medical and hospital staff had to navigate.


Since the events of this book in 2003, the acceptance of “patient centered care” as an essential component of health care quality has grown tremendously, and many of the attitudes and barriers that the author encountered are actively addressed, but I have no doubt that patients and families still experience them. We should do better. We must do better.


This story also illustrates how impossible it can become to simply manage day-to-day responsibilities when a medical crisis strikes, and what a blessing small kindnesses can be. The author was moved to tears by these practical but unglamorous offers, to mow her lawn, to clean her pool, to babysit her children, a bag of groceries, a paid long-term parking pass for the visitors’ parking lot.


I’ll finish with these wise words from the author: “I probably don’t need to state the obvious, but at the very least, everyone needs to have a medical power of attorney. Something like this could happen to you at any time. As Americans, we think we have basic rights and authority. When my husband became incapacitated, so did our rights and so did my authority to protect him.”


Previous Updates:


23/104: http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1538423/108-days-progress-23-304-pg

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