Sunday, July 29, 2018

Personal Info Dump

Last Exit Reading Event

So I went to this on Friday.  The authors read excerpts from their work and then took turns asking each other questions. When it was over they stuck around for a bit to sign books and mingle with the socially skilled people.  I bought two books and managed to say something stupid to each author, despite not saying much. But other than that, I thought it went well. :)




Ana Carrete was also there, but she read from zines. 

Ordeal by Innocence: A Review


Elliptical Rating: 4 / 5

Note: I received a promotional copy through the First Reads program.

I've read several by Christie and this one holds up pretty well against the others. It's certainly one of the faster-paced novels I've read by her. In the absence of a dominant detective (Poirot, Marple) she does a good job of juggling the different characters. The solution makes sense.  The ending is cute, but a bit silly.  

(I don't like the cover, as there are seven suspects. Not a factor in the rating though.)   

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Off the Shelf: This or That Tag

Courtesy of Dr. Sterkel at this fine blog:

1.  Series or Stand-Alone?

Stand-alone.  Too many authors write series so they don't have to come up with new ideas.  It's also a way to get readers because they feel obligated to continue what they started, not because the books are good.

2.  Magic Earned or Magic Born?

Neither.  The only good thing we got from the Harry Potter books was Lindsay Lohan's SNL skit.

3.  Enemies to Lovers or Friends to Lovers?

Friends to Lovers.  I think it's more realistic.  Not that I've ever wanted  a friend to be my lover.  But some of the basics needed for a good romance are the same as the ones for a good friendship.

4.  Hilarious Banter or Emotional Ruin?

A spot of humor can be good. But I think a heavy dose of cynicism is part of a healthy diet. Not like 'my brother's dying from cancer'.  More like people are horrible and the world sucks. So more like jaded and dead inside than whining and crying.

5.  Love Triangle or Insta-Love?

Love triangle.  I think insta-love is stupid.  It's either lust or people desperate to find somebody to latch onto.

6.  Keyboard-Smash Names or All Names Start with the Same Letter?

Keyboard-smash.  The same letter thing just seems lazy.

7.  Mean Parents or Dead Parents?

Dead.  I don't care about your parents.  I don't want to read about them.

8.  Supermodel Looks or Constantly Complaining About How Plain They are?

Supermodel looks.  Plain people are all over the place.  I don't need to read about them.  I don't need to read books about complaining either.

9.  Face on Cover or Typography on Cover?

Face.  Typography just seems lazy.  If you can't be bothered to come up with a good pic for your cover, why should I be bothered to read your book?

10.  Villain Turning a Little Good or Hero Turning a Little Bad?

I feel like villainess who's good in bed should be an option.  I'll go with hero who's a little bad though.  Not turning. Just already is.  Like Rick in Casablanca.          

If you would like to do this tag, have at it.  After you've visited Dr. Sterkel at the link I posted above.      

Monday, July 23, 2018

City of Devils - A Review


Note: I received a promotional ARC through the First Reads program.

I thought this was an interesting and informative read. French brought a lot of different elements together: business dealings, drugs, gambling, war, poverty, etc. Having not been previously familiar with 1930s Shanghai, the international culture of the city really stood out to me. The pacing and readability are decent, and at 276 pages there's enough meat on the bones without being too daunting. 

Shanghai between the world wars was a home to those with nowhere else to go and no one else to take them in... The city asked nothing of them, not visas nor money nor status. Shanghai became a city of reinvention.

Food inflation; firearms deflation - that's the Badlands' law of supply and demand. 

Music Monday - Red Scare

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Off the Shelf - Americana


Goodreads Rating: 3.64
Elliptical Rating: 5
Elliptical Review (September 2007):
"This might be the Great American novel other authors only hope to write. Kerouac based it on his life, so a few famous Beats are in it with different names. It's the kind of book you can read once and then go back later and enjoy random sections. The ending is classic."


Goodreads Rating: 4.14
Elliptical Rating: 4
Edited Elliptical Review (March 2010): 
"Obviously, "Howl" dominates this collection. In length as well as notoriety. The first section is a testament to what can be done with words. The third section is also good stuff. Though the second section is less impressive. But it's a 4 1/2 star poem, even by my harsh standards.
"A Supermarket in California" and "America" are the two other pieces that stand out. The quartet of earlier poems are just that - the work of a poet who was still developing his talents."


Goodreads Rating: 3.94
Elliptical Rating: 4
Elliptical Review (March 2017)
"There's a lot here: some history of bridge building, statistics and trivia about the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, how it affected people who were living in the area, info about people who worked on the bridge or were involved in the planning, etc."


Goodreads Rating: 3.64
Elliptical Rating: 4
Edited Elliptical Review (April 2010):
"Jacobs does a good job of presenting what amounts to an introduction to Weather. He takes us through the organization's chronology and addresses both their successes and their failures. He also gives the reader a picture of them in relation to other left-wing groups of the era. And he raises various issues regarding race, gender, and class, as well as indivdual freedom or lack thereof in the U.S.
I think his reluctance to delve more deeply into the driving personalities behind Weather was a mistake. It was inevitably a personality-driven group due to its small size. I would also have appreciated more input from former Weather members in the current era, or looking back on their time in Weather, in other words. Though to be fair to Jacobs, he might have asked to interview them and been refused. There is a leftist slant to the writing, though Jacobs admits as much at the outset, so it's tolerable."


Goodreads Rating: 4.02
Elliptical Rating: 4

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Happy Canada Day

Cobie Smulders

Jill Hennessy

Kristin Kreuk

Evangeline Lilly

Mia Kirshner

Nina Dobrev

Rachel McAdams

Stana Katic