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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 Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

I really really liked this one – right up until the Big Reveal Twist, then I still sort of liked it but nowhere near as much… I know that rambles – which is a little ironic, since after the BRT the book abruptly closes up shop and wraps everything up tidily in a matter of dozens of pages, after the deliciously long slow build-up to get to that point. I think if Michaelides had kept the pacing/style more consistent, the BRT wouldn’t have bothered me so much. It’s not a bad plot contrivance – it’s been done, but was managed well enough as a reveal and it did catch me off guard.

But what I loved so much about the earlier pages of the book was the way it simmered, the pressure building ever so gently while the bubbles rose to the top and waited to explode with what I knew were going to be wild revelations… Continue reading Book Review: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Interview: Rob Dircks, Author of One of My Favorite Series AND the New Title You’re Going to Mars!

Today I’m beyond pleased to bring you a LONG OVERDUE (sorry Rob!) interview with one of my favorite authors, Rob Dircks. You may recall having seen me gush like a schoolgirl about his Tesla series (Where The Hell is Tesla? and Don’t Touch the Blue Stuff!) last year. Well, Rob has a new book out on Audible. You’re Going to Mars! is in a slightly different style, but every bit as good as the earlier books. And I have it on good authority – The Husband has listened (I don’t do audiobooks) and told me it was fantastic with excellent narration, a great plot/premise, and well crafted characters. Since he usually just says “it was good” – or says nothing at all – this is high praise indeed! Anyway, here’s a glimpse into Rob’s brain on the new book. Make sure to check him out – his stuff is always a great read/listen!

Interview with Rob Dircks
Author of You’re Going to Mars! (among others, see here for a full list)

How did you come up with the idea for You’re Going to Mars!?
To start with, I’ve always been intrigued by space travel, our spirit of exploration, and Mars in particular because it’s got enough mystery around it to make you wonder about life elsewhere, off-world colonization, and our future as a species. And, totally unrelated, I also love the absurdity of some reality shows, like the crazier the better. So at some point, I wrote down this sentence: “What if the most unlikely person in the world won a spot on a reality show for a chance to go to Mars?” And BOOM – this story started popping into my head. Continue reading Interview: Rob Dircks, Author of One of My Favorite Series AND the New Title You’re Going to Mars!

Book Review: Jack Gilmour: Wish Lawyer by Ed Ryder

This was a fun read, with a great set up that begs for more books… The idea of a lawyer who specializes in soul-selling contracts is hardly a stretch (I can make that joke, as a lawyer myself!), but surprisingly enough, it hasn’t been played out yet (that I’ve seen) and I found it a great construct that offered thoroughly entertaining possibilities. Jack’s noir personality is a great foil for the more modern messes he finds himself cleaning up, and sets up a nice contrast between old- and new-school.

The story moved along at a mostly solid pace – there were a few times that the book lagged a bit and felt like it needed a tighter edit. It felt a little rough around the edges, and while that worked alright for the format and story, I think that with a little tweaking this could really be an exceptional series. Continue reading Book Review: Jack Gilmour: Wish Lawyer by Ed Ryder

Book Review: Hippie by Paulo Coelho

I LOVE Paulo Coelho’s lyrical narrative style (do a custom search for him on here, I’ve mentioned his books more than once). He paints such evocative pictures and has such a marvelous fluency with language. I was intrigued by this title and the opportunity to learn more directly about his life, but found the format of this one to be a little too free-flowingly 1970s for my taste…

I was born in 1973 so didn’t directly experience the ups and downs and conflicts that shaped the formation of relationships (to others, to the state, to nature, to life and experience) in the hippie era. Perhaps that is where I struggled with this one. Nontraditional narrative styles (be they free-form or stream of consciousness or atypically structured) don’t tend to resonate for me – I tend to prefer my fiction to be a little more linear. Continue reading Book Review: Hippie by Paulo Coelho

Book Review: The New Childhood by Jordan Shapiro

This was a very thoughtful and interesting take on parenting in the digital age and I quite enjoyed reading it – although after a while the chapters did feel a bit repetitive…

As the parent of a five-year old, I do struggle with screen time and competing ideas about allowing my daughter to explore online and wanting her to explore the “real” world, and Shapiro provided a thoughtful and provocative take on these ideas. His anecdotes about his own experiences were heartfelt and engaging. His factoids and history lessons were informative and interesting. His takeaway messages at the end of each chapter were great summaries. Continue reading Book Review: The New Childhood by Jordan Shapiro

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