Weekly links & wrap-up (Apr. 20, 2014)


Hello! Happy Sunday and happy Easter! I’m planning to spend the day reading books and scheduling blog posts (hopefully). I don’t want to have another situation like last week’s where I skipped posting for almost five days because I didn’t have anything schedule and no time to get anything up, either. Bleh!

I’m currently reading Seven for a Secret by Lyndsay Faye, sequel to The Gods of Gotham which I read and loved last year. I got it out from my library– I got a LOT of books out from my library, way more than I probably should have out considering I go there almost every day. Surely I don’t need to stockpile books when they’re RIGHT THERE, right? But old habits are hard to get rid of, and I’ve been stockpiling library books since I was a kid. Oh well!

Things to look forward to this week! A review of Daryl Gregory’s newest book Afterparty and an interview with the same. Podcast recommendations parts 2 (Non-Fiction) and 3 (Bloggers). And on Saturday is Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon!

What are you looking forward to this week? And then…

Mysterious and romantic books for mysterious and romantic readers

mysterious romantic books
A library patron asked for some mysterious and romantic books the other day, and I proceeded to overwhelm her with book after book. Most of my recommendations went the “omg this is so good” route, not the best way to sell someone on a book, actually, because it tends to freak them out. She took it well, though, and went home with Legend by Marie Lu.

Here are some of the other mysterious and romantic books I thought of, including a few adult books just for kicks. With more detailed reasonings than just “read it because”! And then…

Science Fiction meets Sleeping Beauty: A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan

Science Fiction meets Sleeping Beauty: A Long, Long Sleep by Anna SheehanA Long, Long Sleep (Rosalinda Fitzroy #1) by Anna Sheehan
Published by Candlewick Press (2011), eBook, 342pg
Filed under: Fiction, Romance, Sci-fi, Young Adult
Got my copy from: Bought
Buy your own copy at Amazon or BookDepository (affiliate links | info) or add it to your Goodreads shelf

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It should have been a short suspended-animation sleep. But this time Rose wakes up to find her past is long gone-- and her future full of peril. Rosalinda Fitzroy has been asleep for sixty-two years when she is woken by a kiss. Locked away in the chemically induced slumber of a stasis tube in a forgotten subbasement, sixteen-year-old Rose slept straight through the Dark Times that killed millions and utterly changed the world she knew. Now, her parents and her first love are long gone, and Rose-- hailed upon her awakening as the long-lost heir to an interplanetary empire-- is thrust alone into a future in which she is viewed as either a freak or a threat. Desperate to put the past behind her and adapt to her new world, Rose finds herself drawn to the boy who kissed her awake, hoping that he can help her to start fresh. But when a deadly danger jeopardizes her fragile new existence, Rose must face the ghosts of her past with open eyes-- or be left without any future at all. (from Goodreads)

Sleeping Beauty with a scifi twist! I love fairy tale retellings, especially ones that don’t just retell the same old story with modern characters. A Long, Long Sleep also did that thing I love where it diverts from the original fairy tale in ways that give the female character(s) more agency than they originally had! YAY for books that do that– it keeps it from being the same old boring fairy tale, and it ALSO gives us a new narrative besides “the prince saves the princess.”

A Long, Long Sleep didn’t go the typical YA romance route, either. It’s kind of a trend nowadays to have an OTP established in the first chapter and that’s IT, no diverting from it ever, nothing. Even a love triangle only causes a momentary blip in the path of True Love.

I find that whole trope really boring and unrealistic in a way that feels a little disingenuous. People can fall in love with more than one person, and just because you loved someone at 16 doesn’t necessarily mean you should be with them for the rest of your life. In A Long, Long Sleep, Rose has already had the OTP one true love at a young age thing. She meets Bren (the “prince” who woke her up) and it SEEMS like she’s going to have that again…only there’s a twist.

(This might count as a spoiler, btw, but it’s such an interesting twist to the standard YA storyline that I wanted to talk about it no matter what.) And then…

Weekly links & wrap-up (Apr. 13, 2014)


Hello, happy Sunday! I am super tired, y’all. The LA Times Festival of Books was fun! It got off to a rocky start, with a mostly-boring Saturday, but Sunday was GREAT! And I got to meet up with Kim and Florinda twice! Yay! I’ll be writing more on what I saw/did during the festival later this week. For now, here’s a preview:

Most surreal moment: listening to an author William Shatner his way through various poems (and not in an ironic way).

An unanswered question: why does LA smell so much like a port-a-potty?

Best freebie: Keurig chai latte made fresh by my own hands

Most relaxing booth: the Amida Society, with their Buddhist monk chants(?) CD.

Creepiest booth situation: the Ayn Rand booth neighbored to the dianetics booth.

Best bathroom location: Bovard Auditorium, central to everything and always clean.

Books read

  1. Afterparty – Daryl Gregory

I only finished one book because I’m reading like five at once. I really need to practice focusing on one at a time again! Switching back and forth between all those books is exhausting. And then…

Podcasts for book lovers, part 1: Fiction

I have a huge commute nowadays (~5 hours round trip and I am totally for serious about that) which is mostly a really boring bus ride when it isn’t punctuated by flashers or foul stenches. Thus I have been listening to a LOT of podcasts!

What are podcasts? They’re kind of like what old radio shows used to be: people talking into a microphone about all kinds of topics. There are comedy podcasts, drama podcasts, personal diary-type podcasts, news podcasts, music podcasts, and more! Being a book blogger, I tend to listen to lots of book and blog-related podcasts.

Don’t know where to start? Lucky for you I’ve created a series of posts for podcasts recommendations!

First up:

Fiction

welcome to night valeWelcome to Night Vale which blew up the internet last fall and it was totally worth it.

WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE is a twice-monthly podcast in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff’s Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events.

Turn on your radio and hide.

Written by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor. Narrated by Cecil Baldwin. Music by Disparition. Logo by Rob Wilson

Listen if you like: horror, paranormal/urban fantasy, magical realism, scifi/fantasy, REALLY GOOD WRITING! Also, music!
valentin & the widow
Valentin and the Widow which is more like an audiobook in serial form.

The story of widowed English aristocrat Eleanora Rosewood, her Russian valet Sacha Valentin, and their quest to take down the covert evil organisation known as Dominion.

Eleanora Rosewood is a headstrong young woman in the 1920s with a progressive view of world affairs. When her husband is killed in a tragic accident, she learns that he was involved in a secret society bent on perpetuating the oppression of the weak and the poor by any means necessary.

Sacha Valentin is a burly Russian sailor who is as chivalrous in his regard for others as he is cavalier in his regard for himself. Living in self-imposed exile from his motherland, he is lured back to face the temptations of the world of men when he is recruited to Lady Rosewood’s cause.

Valentin & The Widow is serialised as a free weekly audio drama narrated by the author. You can also buy ebook novella editions of the adventures at Amazon and Smashwords for just $2.99 each.

Listen if you like: mysteries, historical fiction, unusual women characters.

Podcastle which is actually a company that makes audiobook/podcasts of various authors’ short stories.

PodCastle is the world’s first fantasy audio magazine. Each week we bring you short stories across the spectrum of fantasy from leading authors and new discoveries. Like our sister podcasts, Escape Pod and Pseudopod, PodCastle is entirely free to listen and share.

Listen if you like: fantasy, short stories.

Do you listen to any fiction podcasts? Which ones would you recommend?

Unreliable flappers: The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell (+ giveaway!)

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Unreliable flappers: The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell (+ giveaway!)The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell
Published by Berkley Trade Paperback (2013), Paperback, 368pg
Filed under: Fiction, GLBTQ, Historical Fiction, Mystery
Got my copy from: Book Tour
Buy your own copy at Amazon or BookDepository (affiliate links | info) or add it to your Goodreads shelf
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Confessions are Rose Baker’s job. A typist for the New York City Police Department, she sits in judgment like a high priestess. Criminals come before her to admit their transgressions, and, with a few strokes of the keys before her, she seals their fate. But while she may hear about shootings, knifings, and crimes of passion, as soon as she leaves the room, she reverts to a dignified and proper lady. Until Odalie joins the typing pool.

As Rose quickly falls under the stylish, coquettish Odalie’s spell, she is lured into a sparkling underworld of speakeasies and jazz. And what starts as simple fascination turns into an obsession from which she may never recover. (from Goodreads)

I love flappers and mysteries and mysteries with flappers, so when I was given the opportunity to join in a blog tour for The Other Typist, which has all those things, I jumped at it!

The narrator, Rose, is unreliable like woah. I feel weird about not believing someone who is presented as a victim, but her narrative voice is very hinky. She just oozes “I am lying and/or delusional,” so I pretty much automatically distrusted her. It started off as little things that pinged my “something is off” meter, but it quickly escalated. For example, she keeps a diary of Odalie’s movements. In a normal mystery, that might be okay. In a mystery with a narrator who gives off creepy vibes, it comes off as obsessive and weird. And then…

Two dead dudes and one dead lady: Might As Well Be Dead by Rex Stout

Two dead dudes and one dead lady: Might As Well Be Dead by Rex StoutMight As Well Be Dead (Nero Wolfe #27) by Rex Stout
Published by Bantam Books (1956), Hardcover, 224pg
Filed under: Adult, Fiction, Mystery
Got my copy from: Bought
Buy your own copy at Amazon or BookDepository (affiliate links | info) or add it to your Goodreads shelf

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Eleven years after his own thoughtlessness sent his only son, Paul, away from home, Nebraska businessman James Herold calls upon Nero Wolfe to track down the young man so that he can make amends. (from Goodreads)

I have a love-hate relationship with the Nero Wolfe mysteries. On the one hand, they’re good mysteries! They’re twisty and involved and I always feel happy with the solutions. Nero Wolfe himself is a fascinating character (he never leaves his house, for one thing) and I love his gang of investigators. And then…