Showing posts from January, 2015

Word Nerds Unite!

I had a great time with my little Reading Pal today. She picked a new book to read, and as soon as I opened it I got all excited in an extremely geeky fashion.

"Do you know what kind of book this is? No? I'm going to teach you a new word, a word a lot of grown ups don't know. Are you ready? The word is 'epistolary'."*

We looked up 'epistolary' in the dictionary so she'd be able to read the definition for herself (we had to pull out the large, grown-up Webster's Collegiate for this one), and then I showed her how the publisher had typeset the book to highlight the different chapters.

The novel is Dying to Meet You (43 Old Cemetery Road #1) by Kate Klise and M. Sarah Klise. While I'm very tempted to keep reading this epistolary novel on my own, I'm behaving myself until my Reading Pal and I get together this week.

Oh, and if you're wondering what an epistolary novel is, grab your dictionary!

*I was speaking to my son about it later a…

Review--Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3)

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'd go for 4.5 stars if that were an option. The third book in the Raven Cycle won't make sense to people who haven't read the first two, but it's both deeply satisfying and yet unsatisfying with the cliffhanger ending to the fans of the series.

The satisfying part is we get more of the internal and external goings-on of the Raven Boys and Blue, we learn more about what happened with Blue's mother and Mr. Gray and Mr. Gray's employer, and we gain some characters and lose others.

It's the characters that make the story so solid. Even the henchmen have interesting stories, and secondary characters like Jesse make the tale that much more entertaining.

Like the others, I'm anxiously awaiting book four.

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Boskone 52 Mini-Interviews

I'm one of the participating authors being interviewed today at the Boskone blog, and you can check it out here: BoskoneBlog Mini-Interviews. I've got my snow boots dusted off and I'm ready to brave Boston's weather to join fans and friends at the annual conference in February.

Review--The Creole Affair: The Slave Rebellion That Led the U.S. and Great Britain to the Brink of War

The Creole Affair: The Slave Rebellion That Led the U.S. and Great Britain to the Brink of War by Arthur T. Downey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Excellent, well written history of a little remembered, but very important, incident that strained US/UK relations to the point of war.

Antebellum US was dealing with its "original sin", the slaves and slave states and territories of the Southern US. The British West Indies were emancipated by 1838, creating an opportunity for slaves to escape from the US to the islands, and that's exactly what the slaves aboard the US brig Creole did while they were being shipped to New Orleans.

The writing is clear and accessible to the armchair historian as well as the serious scholar, and the personalities are fascinating. I enjoyed it very much.

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Review--A Rogue's Paradise: Crime and Punishment in Antebellum Florida, 1821-1861

A Rogue's Paradise: Crime and Punishment in Antebellum Florida, 1821-1861 by James M. Denham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another outstanding history that kept me turning pages when I should have been doing other things. Denham's comprehensive and extremely well-documented overview of Antebellum Florida's law enforcement gives a clear view of the frontier society, where justice was often administered by lynch mobs, where the lack of prisons and law enforcement offices truly made it a "rogue's paradise" and where fear of slave insurrections kept the public paranoid and twitchy.

This book is a valuable asset for anyone writing historical fiction about the Florida frontier, and of interest to all who like a glimpse into history that's more than kings, queens and huge battles.

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Boskone 52--My schedule

I've given my winter wardrobe a once-over, so it must be time for Boskone 52. As I've said before, you know it's special if I'm willing to drag my Florida self up to Boston in February. Here's a blurb explaining all:

"Boskone is New England's longest running science fiction and fantasy convention. Join us for a weekend of fun at the Westin Waterfront Hotel in Boston, MA from February 13-15, 2015. Programming begins at 2:00 pm on Friday, February 13th and is free to the public from 2:00-6:00 pm. Memberships are required after 6:00 pm on Friday and throughout the duration of the convention. For more information, visit"

An (M) next to my name means I'm moderating that panel.
Growing Up in "Game of Thrones" Friday 17:00 - 17:50, Harbor I (Westin)
The consequences of their parents’ plots sit squarely upon the shoulders of the Stark, Lannister, and Targaryen children. Their childhoods are gone, and they must come quic…

Review--Black London: Life Before Emancipation

Black London: Life Before Emancipation by Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Excellent history. While we get a relatively small amount of African-American history in most public schools in the US, there's very little focus on African-Anglo life and how it affected attitudes here pre-emancipation.

This book was enlightening and entertaining.

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Review--Forever in My Heart

Forever in My Heart by Jo Goodman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this novel more than I thought I would. At first I found the plot contrived, but the more I read, the more it grew on me. The love story developed in an interesting and coherent fashion, and the secondary characters were great--even, or especially, The Other Woman.

I'm glad I have the opportunity to catch up on some of Ms. Goodman's older Western romances in new ebook editions. Her new ones have been an autobuy for me for some time, so this is a treat.

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Review--The Burning Room

The Burning Room by Michael Connelly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very powerful, very satisfying chapter in the Harry Bosch saga. Harry's coming to the end of his time with the LAPD. He's still working cold cases, looking at crimes that remain unsolved. He's partnered with a hotshot young woman, Lucy Soto, who's a rising star in the department, there to be mentored by an old gumshoe like Harry.

They're investigating two cases, one of which has a very personal connection to Lucy. Harry's not looking forward to retirement and wants to close as many cases as possible, but when they start turning over rocks to look at suspects, what they find could come back to bite them.

Fans of the series will enjoy it with a touch of bittersweet feelings as Harry ages out of active police work. New fans are recommended to start with the first books to get the full flavor and enjoyment of Connelly's excellent writing.

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