Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sunday Soup - December 15

Sunday Soup is... a little of this, a little of that, not too much work, and hopefully a tasty result.

The soup is a bit of a leftover concoction this week. You ever make that soup? Where you've got odds and ends that are maybe not the freshest tidbits but they're too good to just let go? Yeah, I've got some stuff stored up from a few weeks back now, so bear with me.  

Soup Dish:  book people are talking about...
I have a half-finished post in my draft folder about posts on reviewing that have influenced me.  My canon, if you will. Just this morning, I found a new one to add to the canon: the Mmph, by Mary Ann Rivers. While it's not about reviewing particularly, it IS about reader reaction, which is maybe 80% of reviewing, in my opinion. Just go read it, if you haven't already.

Lavyrle Spencer is one of the first authors that I went completely nuts for. I still have a fairly extensive collection of her work in hardback. Morning Glory is one of my favorites, partly because it is set in the 30s or 40s, which makes it really unusual, and that plus the rural aspect made me think of how my grandmother raised her family, so I felt an extra tie to the narrative. So I absolutely loved Willa's close reading published in Heroes and Heartbreakers.  I feel a re-read coming on.

Your Ability to Can Even - I just saw this yesterday via a link at The Art of Simple. I kind of adore internet expressionism (I just made that up), mainly for humorous effect. This article is an eloquent and passionate defense of this evolving "dialect."

Romance makes NPR Best Books Aside from being a nice utility for helping you choose books for others, the romance genre is well represented. Lauren Dane, Anne Gracie, Sherry Thomas, Juliana Gray, Sarah MacLean, Molly O'Keefe, and Kristan Higgins do the genre proud.

I have not read Nenia Campbell before, but somewhere along the way I followed a link to her post about having been banned/dropped from Amazon.  I have to admit, I really really love the convenience that Amazon has brought to my life.  I love my Kindle. Probably 3/4s of my Christmas shopping this year was via Amazon. I live locally to HQ and my professional network includes a fair number of current and past employees. But I worry about how much power they have in the market place. I know a little bit about the backend systems that support their business, and it is WORRISOME that a bug in their search code can ruin livelihoods. Like Nenia, I'm baffled as to why her book was dropped given other dreck that is categorically "worse" in terms of content that violates some mysterious code of standards.  Worrisome.

Cara McKenna is a favorite author of mine, and I love what she has to say at Romance for Feminists about reading and writing sex in romance. Also, I just finished her title Unbound, and thought it was marvelous.

I get so excited when there's a new post at Badass Romance. I'm really not a fan of straight historical fiction (ie, not historical romance) because I almost always find it stilted and dusty-dry. However, Pamela's review of Executioner's Song has me very interested. Although it might be that I just like reading the review.

What I'm reading
Currently in progress I've got Laura Kinsale's Prince of Midnight. I really feel like Kinsale and Mary Jo Putney created the whole subgenre of the damaged hero.  Putting his damage right there in the narrative instead of leaving him as closed to the reader as he is to the heroine.( Perhaps with some help from Anne Rice in the Angsty Vampire sub-subcategory.) It's no secret that I'm a Kinsale fan, and this book is no exception. I am given to understand that this book contains a sex-on-horseback scene, but I haven't seen it yet so I'll have to keep you posted.

I've got Sarah MacLean's One Good Earl Deserves Another going in dead-tree format too. She takes the bluestocking trope to a bit of an extreme here, with a bookish heroine who is determined to understand her vows before taking them-- with a different man, of course. I'm finding the premise to be a bit... is "disingenuous" the right word? Possibly "silly" is the better one. Not entirely believable. But I like these characters and their interactions and the building external conflicts enough to keep going.

I'm not sure where the rec for Chaos Born by Rebekah Turner came from, but it was a good read. It would benefit from a draconian editor, as there is a fair amount of homonym abuse and things like "contact" instead of "contract".  It's an interesting, complicated world. One standout element is that the heroine is lame, and it's not just window-dressing.  It affects how she does (or fails to do) her job. Readers with an interest in disabled heroines should give it a look.

I also sped through Driven by Eve Silver (see what I did there?). I'm not sure what it says about me, but I'm really pulled toward post-apocalyptic romance lately, and this is a really good one. The hero is fascinating; the world is dark (and cold), and the twist about the heroine and her history was great. I did find the science a bit questionable but it made the backstory work, so you kinda have to go with it. I recommend, anyway, and the next book, Hidden, is on my want list.

I finished up Nora Roberts' Dark Witch. While Roberts always delivers a good read, IMO, this wasn't her best ever. I find myself liking her non-paranormals better.  It won't stop me from reading the rest of the trilogy though.  That's just how I roll.

On Tap... what soup isn't a little better with a slosh or two?
I might discontinue this feature for a little while - I haven't been very adventurous lately, so I don't feel like I have anything very interesting to say. Tis the season for Sam Adams Cream Ale and Blue Moon Seasonal Abbey Ale, two of my very favorites. However, I did notice that the latest Sam Adams collection contains something called "Cherry Chocolate Bock" which I really, really want to try -- but there are too many things I don't really want in the collection.  It's a dilemma.

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