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2019 Reading Challenge

2019 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 0 books toward her goal of 200 books.
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Book Review: The Liar’s Room by Simon Lelic

Simon Lelic’s books are always eminently readable, with fast and consistent pacing, deliciously unlikeable characters, and unusual plots and subplots. I must confess though, each time I finish one of his books I find myself wondering exactly why I enjoyed it and read it so quickly because the unusual plots often require significant stretching of my boundaries of credulity and the characters are often SO odious taken as a whole that they should send me running for the hills… Continue reading Book Review: The Liar’s Room by Simon Lelic

Book Review: The Spy Who Never Was (Nora Baron Series #3) by Tom Savage

I know, I know – I’ve reviewed the first and now the third. What about the second?? you ask… Well, I read the second and liked it every bit as much as the others – but the third was a NetGalley book, and it required a review. So trust me when I tell you that the middle book (The Woman Who Knew Too Much) was also very well done and is just as worthy a read as the others – I just didn’t actually write the review!

When I saw this title for request on NetGalley, I was immediately intrigued. When I saw it was #3 in a series, I was slightly less so – I’m a bit backlogged on reviews, and I don’t like reading series books out of order, so I was daunted a bit at the thought of trying to get through two books before I could even get into this one. I am SO glad I didn’t let any of that stop me – this series is one of my favorite finds on NetGalley, and I have absolutely loved each and every book! Continue reading Book Review: The Spy Who Never Was (Nora Baron Series #3) by Tom Savage

Book Review: Talk to Me by John Kenney

Nuance is dead. In its place, we have judgment. Instant judgment. That’s the world we’re living in. There’s no truth. There’s no fact. There’s only what you can get to trend. And it’s only getting worse.

I was almost one of those readers who gave up on this one but am SO glad I did not because in the end I thoroughly enjoyed its ups and downs. This is a cautionary tale that I think hits the contemporary obsession with social media on the head. A man – a mediocre husband and sub-optimal father who is also an immensely successful nightly news anchor – makes a dreadful statement about a young woman that is (of course) caught on video and instantly broadcast and rebroadcast ad infinitum via the marvels of the internet. The results are entirely predictable but no less startling for all that: the complete and total annihilation of his reputation, family, and career. Continue reading Book Review: Talk to Me by John Kenney

Book Review: The Sandman by Lars Kepler

I read this one first in the Joona Linna series. I wrote the review earlier than any of the others, which is why if you follow my reviews some of it will seem odd – it was written last year but somehow never got posted… So in the interest of giving you as many reviews of this incredible series as possible, I’ve squeezed it in. Apologies for any continuity issues!

This was an INCREDIBLE find, and I’m so happy that I didn’t know that it was book four in a series going in, or I’d never have requested it… (I hate reading series books out of order as a rule.) When I was getting ready to read this one (which intrigued me immensely with its blurb, title, and cover art), I looked it up on GoodReads – there I saw a number of comments about it being the (at least theoretical) last book in the Joona Linna series, and almost immediately didn’t open it. Reading series books out of order is bad enough; reading the final book in a series when you haven’t read any of the others is usually a non-starter, since all the loose ends are usually being tied up at that point and it’s tough to make the story stand alone. Continue reading Book Review: The Sandman by Lars Kepler

Guest Post: Fiction Writing Workshops for Kids by Hank Quense

Today I’m pleased to bring you another guest post from author Hank Quense, whose kids’ writing workshops and fiction and non-fiction books are a delightful way to encourage reading and writing. His latest – Fiction Writing Workshops for Kids – is an interactive ebook with embedded videos. Hank uses the videos to coach kids (4th to 7th graders) through the creation of a short story. The videos involve the development of the characters, plots, setting and scenes. Enjoy!

Fiction Writing Workshops for Kids
by Hank Quense

Writing a story is a tough job, especially for a kid. There’s all that stuff about characters and setting they have to remember.  And then there’s the plot.  How is a kid supposed to figure that one out? 

I’ve written a number of novels and I’ve had over forty short stories published in magazines, anthologies and web sites. So I know firsthand about these difficulties.  Over time and after a lot of false starts, I developed a process that allows me to approach a new story in an organized manner.  Once I had this process I found it eliminated many of the dead ends I had previously run into. Continue reading Guest Post: Fiction Writing Workshops for Kids by Hank Quense

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