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2017 Reading Challenge

Jill Elizabeth has read 2 books toward her goal of 150 books.
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Guest Post: Terrible Worlds or Terrible Books? by Jennifer Arntson, Author of Scavenger Girl: Season of Atchem

A little while ago, I introduced you to the fantastic Scavenger Girl: Season of Atchem and its even more fantastic author, Jennifer Arntson. As you may have noticed, my review made much of the word “dystopian” as a genre/theme, pointing out the challenges I think are associated with such a label. This is a part of a larger conversation that I’ve had not only in my own head (where many conversations start – and even more go to die, teehee…) but also with Jennifer. Today, I’m pleased to bring you her thoughts on the topic. Without further ado, I bring you Jennifer Arntson!

Terrible Worlds or Terrible Books?
by Jennifer Arntson

Dystopian novels are books that readers either crave, or outright avoid. It’s one way or the other, with readers unfamiliar to the niche finding themselves basing their next read on the movies made from books that fall somewhere within the lines of acceptable. Thanks to Hollywood’s reach with the silver screen, dystopian novels conquered the scene in the early 2000’s and with an uprising of interested readers, inspired authors to write finely crafted tales of struggle and survival after the epic fall of civilization.

And readers went into a dystopian frenzy.
Continue reading Guest Post: Terrible Worlds or Terrible Books? by Jennifer Arntson, Author of Scavenger Girl: Season of Atchem

Book Review: Number One Observatory Circle by Charles Denyer

We talk about touring the White House every time a friend makes the pilgrimage to Washington, D.C. But, what about the history-packed Vice President’s digs?

Charles Denyer gives us an insider’s historical tour of Number One Observatory Circle in his new book. You’ll experience never-before-seen photos, access to candid conversations with former Vice Presidents, family members, and political power players.

“Charles casts a bright light on a little-known national treasure: the vice president’s house.” –BOB BURGESS, White House Photographer for Vice President Walter Mondale

Charles, a federal cybersecurity and national security expert and a noted vice-presidential historian, brings to life untold stories and memorable moments. All found in the context of this three-story 1893 mansion that’s quietly situated on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Observatory…as well as the people who have been privileged to call it home.

What an absolutely lovely and surprisingly interesting book this was! I lived in Washington, DC for a number of years, so was familiar with the Vice President’s Residence within the grounds of the U.S. Naval Observatory. But being “familiar” didn’t mean that I knew very much about the building itself (beyond its location and existence, which is apparently more than many people know, according to the introductory materials) – or its residents. The VP gets a bit of a bum-rap quite often; jokes, snide remarks, and eye rolling tend to follow comments and statements about both the office and the people who have held it. But under Denyer’s thoughtful stewardship, the house and the office are given a long-overdue respectful treatment that proved to be both insightful and enjoyable to read. Continue reading Book Review: Number One Observatory Circle by Charles Denyer

Book Review: Don’t Touch the Blue Stuff! by Rob Dircks

You never know with sequels… Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about this one – Dircks’ second in the Tesla series delivers every bit as well as the first (and if you haven’t seen that review, look for it – I rave like a fangirl, teehee).

Chip and Pete and Bobo and Julie and Nikola are back – but not only are they back, they’re back with a vengeance. The new adventure is even more madcap, yet still oddly relatable, than the first; somehow, Dircks’ has this fantastic ability to take these guys that should, by rights, irritate the hell out of me (in real life, they would – Chip would be beyond irritating and Pete too perfect by half) and make me love them and cheer for them and hope beyond hope that they’ll keep coming back for more…
Continue reading Book Review: Don’t Touch the Blue Stuff! by Rob Dircks

Book Introduction – and Why to Read It: Quantum Time Theory by Ned Huston

So I’m going to do something I don’t normally do – I’m going to give you a full book blurb. Then I’m going to give you the guest post – which is the rationalization the author sent me, at the instruction of his XX, as to why I should read his book. In the spirit of full disclosure, I haven’t read the book yet. It offers a full glossary, and I must admit that the opening pages – accompanied by the admonishment by the protagonist that the terms in his story are used uniquely, hence the glossary – were daunting to me as a result. I love Russian literature – but it too requires a glossary and footnotes (and usually a list of patronymics so you can keep all the various shortened versions of the characters’ names straight). It’s almost invariably an enjoyable read for me – unlike many, I genuinely enjoy the Russian classics and find them highly entertaining – but it does take effort and time, and neither of those are things I can offer up very freely these days. Still, after talking with the author, I’ve been assured that the comparison doesn’t hold true, and the terminology isn’t really all that unique, and that the story can be enjoyed without regular cross-referencing (or study). So I’m putting the book into my queue – you may yet see a full review on here, but in case my time remains less my own than I would like, I didn’t want you to miss out on learning about this addition to the time travel genre… (BTW, you’ll note the capitalization throughout the description and “why to read” – those indicate terms from the official glossary.) Enjoy!

Book Description – Quantum Time Theory by Ned Huston
8 brothers and sisters must learn how to Survive in a world where Time Travel is common, and the Present keeps changing every two to three weeks. They must endure the Seven Dangers of the Time World and Adapt to living in a Society of Time Travelers. Continue reading Book Introduction – and Why to Read It: Quantum Time Theory by Ned Huston

Book Review: MAD Librarian by Michael Guillebeau

“Carl Sagan said we are all made of stardust. She was made of book dust.”

***

“We’ve all put up with these problems for too long. No one’s been mad enough before. Pun intended.”

I didn’t know what to expect from this one – after downloading the galley, I looked up other reviews to see what the buzz was on this one (I do that from time to time, out of curiosity). WOW. People do NOT seem to like this book – the rather vituperative reviews and low stars really surprised me… Don’t get me wrong – there are some issues that I had with it as well. The story is rather extreme – excessive corruption and sexism, exceedingly polarizing characters, wild-eyed pessimism (and, by the end, optimism), too-good (and -bad) to-be-true characters… The plot is wildly implausible. The language is, at times, hyperbolic and the drama, overdrawn.

BUT IT IS SATIRE. And that’s what satire does… Continue reading Book Review: MAD Librarian by Michael Guillebeau

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