Friday, March 18, 2016


The wild inside by Christine Carbo.  Ugh. This sounds great, but is an awful read.  The author wedges in too much backstory when it's more important to get us going with the character and the action; early in the book, it doesn't matter where the character grew up or what his home life was like. Those things don't make us invested in him.  The sentence writing is what killed it for me though.  Poor sentence structure, poor flow; I slammed the book closed for good when the character narrated he "could care less."  It didn't read as a colloquialism; it read as poor, unedited writing.

Clash of eagles by Alan Smale.  An alternate history with a premise I haven't read before? I'm on pins and needles for the next book.  I'm kind of trepidatious, though, because there is a third book projected for 2017 but book 1 didn't end well so I'm nervous about how book 2 will leave off.
To review book 1: certainly enjoyable.  A nice amount of detail and world-building without bogging down the story.  There are a good handful of minor characters who aren't distinct enough for me to keep straight, but they're more background, tertiary characters; the secondary characters are distinct enough.  One thing that bugged me was that, in the begging of the book, the story is day-by-day.  Then things shift and we get little installments every few weeks or months, little snippets.  This felt kind of clunky. 
The real downer that will make me tell you to wait on this book is how it ended: very depressing, angsty ending.  Yes, it is calculated to make the reader want to pick up the next book.  But that's a problem if all the books haven't been written yet.  Book 2 is in hand and pretty thick, so I'll let you know.

Tart and sweet: 101 canning and pickling recipes for the modern kitchen by Kelly Geary and Jessie Knadler. 664.0282.  I may need to have this book at home.  My freezer was so crammed after last summer's berry picking and the fall intake of zucchini and pumpkin that I need a better plan for this year.  This book is understandable and clear.  It makes it not seems so crazy or scary.  Highly recommended.

The devil you know by K.J. Parker.  I read a rave review of this, but I'm not so sold.  It's ok, mildly interesting, but the ultra-short format does the story a disservice-- there's barely enough time to get into the story and start to figure out the setting before it's over.  The story is told familiarly; I felt like the main character were a historical figure I was supposed to have a passing familiarity with, and use that to build on.  I spent quite a while confirming that, no, it's all made up.  That made me feel groundless, like the story didn't have a base.  The setting feels vaguely like first-couple-centuries Roman world, but there are no details, no world building.  The entire story is about a long con and a bit of philosophy.  Not super enjoyable for me.

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