Monday Musings

August 6, 2012 Monday Musings 2

This week the Monday Musings question from Should Be Reading is the following: What attracts you to a book blog? What puts you off in a book blog? Do you share personal stuff on your book blog?

These days I don’t often go looking for more book blogs to read, so the main way I find new blogs is through recommendations from bloggers I like already. I realize as a blogger, you don’t have a ton of control over that, but I think it’s a point in favor of networking 🙂 I also like organized book blogs, where reviews follow some typical format, possibly with a header or a footer containing a summary of the review. I don’t like reviews which begin with the summary taken directly from the book or which ramble too much about things other than the book. Another big turn off for me is  a blog with more than one or two memes. (I’m suddenly wondering if all book bloggers become this opinionated! I don’t think I’d have had a solid answer to this question when I started out.) I share a little personal info in non-book-review posts because that’s my preference for other blogs. I think it’s nice to share a little of yourself so we can get to know each other, but that’s why memes are nice. They’re a place to share information about ourselves without cluttering up a book review.

What do you look for or avoid in a blog? How do you feel about sharing personal info?

 

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And Now… Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Programming!

August 6, 2012 Uncategorized 2

Hello all! I’m moved in! And I have internet! Which is good because I was beginning to suffer from withdrawal. It’s amazing how many times in a day I have a question that can only be answered by the internet and also how quiet it can be without it! Ok, enough exclamation points. I just wanted to announce that as of today, things should be back to their regular schedule, including more frequent and more exciting photography Friday posts as I explore Ithaca. I hope you’ve all had a great week and I’m glad to be back 🙂

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Bookends About Pardonable Lies

July 29, 2012 Uncategorized 2

Title: Pardonable Lies
Author: Jacqueline Winspear
Source: library
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Review Summary: A little more paranormal than I expected this series to get, which threw me, but also much more exciting and action-packed than previous books in the series.

Hello all! I’m currently recovering at my parents’ house in Ohio after the first leg of my move, before heading on to Ithaca on Tuesday, so it’s a great time to get this post up for the summer book club being hosted by Jessica of Quirky Bookworm. This is actually the third book in the Maisie Dobbs series (my review of the first is here) and like all of the books I’ve read so far (through the fourth in the series) it includes a case related to the aftermath of WWI as well as a case that makes Maisie think about her personal experiences in the war. Her first case is an odd one, as she is asked to prove that a man’s son did not survive the war. This leads to a more personal investigation, helping a friend learn about a brother lost in the war under mysterious circumstances. Read more »

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Six Wives in the 921’s

July 26, 2012 Uncategorized 1

Title: Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII
Author: David Starkey
Source: library
Fun Fact: The fates of Henry VIII’s wives were the following: divorced, beheaded, died in child birth, divorced, beheaded, and out-lived him (but probably would otherwise have been beheaded).
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Summary: Clear, well written, engaging without being overly dramatic, obviously well researched, and a lot of fun to read.

This book was really everything I look for in a non-fiction book about history. It was so engagingly written that it could have been non-fiction, but sources were all cited and deviations from accepted wisdom among Henry VIII scholars were mentioned. The story was presented chronologically, with a few, well integrated digressions to give us the history of each of Henry’s wives. Chapters were short and the introduction of new characters was kept to a minimum, creating a very lucid narrative. New characters were always given context, both in the writing and by some great family trees, and we were often reminded who recurring characters were. This made the massive amounts of information in this 880 page book fairly manageable. Read more »

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A Group Read Review – Leviathan Wakes

July 25, 2012 Uncategorized 1

Title: Leviathan Wakes
Author: James Corey
Source: library
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Summary: Very interesting premise, intriguing, and sometimes well written, but it didn’t really draw me in.

Typically classed as a space opera, Leviathan Wakes has a little bit of everything – action, horror, mystery, and of course science fiction. We alternate between two perspective, one a shuttle captain drawn into the mystery surrounding a deserted ship sending out a distress signal and the other a cop searching for a missing girl who we know was on the now deserted ship. This shuttle eventually leads them both to a secret some people are willing to “kill on an unfathomable scale for” – even if that means engineering a war. Read more »

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A Possible Interlude

July 24, 2012 Uncategorized 2

Hello all 🙂 This is just a quick notice that I’m moving out of my apartment this week and into my new one next week. I hope to schedule some posts in advance for you to enjoy while I’m dealing with life, but I’d like to apologize in advance if posts get a little erratic for a while!

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Flight From Berlin

July 21, 2012 Uncategorized 6

Title: Flight From Berlin
Author: David John
Source: from publisher for a TLC Book Tour
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Summary: An exciting story of escape from Nazi Germany, made more interesting and believable by the author’s inclusion of real people and events.

Starting during the 1936 Berlin Olympics and taking place just pre-WWII, Flight From Berlin is a fascinating look at a pivotal time period as the world decides how to react to Nazi Germany. Almost by chance, an English reporter and a beautiful American athlete-turned-reporter receive information which could effect the outcome of that decision. They also become personally involved with a Jewish family who they hope to help escape. Read more »

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The Double Helix in the 574’s

July 18, 2012 Uncategorized 2

Title: The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA
Author: James D. Watson
Source: library
Fun Fact: Not even Watson always knew what he wanted to research. (This may not seem like a fun fact to all of you, but to those of you who are also in research – you’re welcome.)
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Summary: This was a great candid look at the process of research and the drama of the personal interactions that are sometimes involved.

Science sometimes includes a surprising amount of personal drama and just playing around with models until they fit the facts. This account of the discovery of the structure of DNA, by one of the key participants Dr. James D. Watson, includes a lot of both. Written as though from his perspective at the time, The Double Helix presented a fascinating and candid look at the work which led up to this amazing discover. Read more »

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Monday Musings

July 16, 2012 Monday Musings 0

This week the Monday Musings question from Should Be Reading is the following: What are you currently reading? Is it any good? Would you recommend it?

Right now I’m reading Flight From Berlin for a TLC book tour I’m participating in this Saturday. I just started it last night and haven’t had a ton of time to read today, so I’m not sure how I feel about it yet. The initial thought and dialog seemed a little stilted and it took me a bit to get into the story. But now I’m starting to like the two main characters and the action is picking up, so I think my initial, more negative feelings were just me struggling to get into a new book. Now, I’m liking it a lot better and I suspect that once we get into the more action packed parts of the novel it’s going to turn into something I’ll enjoy a lot and which I would recommend.

Are you reading anything good these days? Does it often take you a little while to decide how you feel about a new book?

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Bookends About Maisie Dobbs

July 15, 2012 Uncategorized 3

Title: Maisie Dobbs
Author: Jacqueline Winspear
Source: library
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Summary: Well written mystery with an impressive female protagonist, convincingly set in the 1920’s but with too much focus on WWI’s leftovers and not enough urgency.

Maisie Dobbs, the lead character after whom the book is named, is an intelligent, independent woman and one of the first generation of women taking on traditionally male roles following WWI. She’s also a brilliant private investigator with a personal life affected by her experience as a nurse in the war.  The war also leaves it’s mark on her professional life, since many of her cases directly relate to the war’s aftermath. This includes the case which is the focus of this book which starts out as “an ordinary infidelity case” but which “soon reveals a much deeper, darker web of secrets”. Read more »

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