Discussion:
Past, Present, and Future
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Nyssa
2017-06-29 16:56:54 UTC
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In between trimming bushes, pulling weeds, planting more vegetables, and
mowing grass, I have had a bit of time left over in the evenings to keep
up my reading addiction.

"Anne the Saint" by Leigh Jenkins was an odd one. I went into it thinking
it was historical fiction based around Anne Boleyn, but after a few
chapters I was scratching my head at things mentioned in the story I
didn't remember from history (or the old "Six Wives of Henry the VIII
from Masterpiece Theater fame). It turned out to be an alternate history
where Anne is all sweetness and light and cares for her fellow man. Oh,
and she also bears a son named Charles who becomes the heir instead of
Elizabeth. I felt as though the Twilight Zone took over medieval England.

Next up was a book billed as "cli-fi" (climate fiction) set in the Yukon
twenty years in the future where a conglomerate led by the Chinese has
basically taken over the function of government of Canada while they strip
the country of its natural resources and pollute the dickens out of
everything in sight. I don't know if there are many rammers who might be
interested in such a topic, but just in case it was written by Norm Hamilton
and titled "From Thine Own Well." The author lived in the Yukon around
Whitehorse for twenty years, so he knows the territory, but I question some
of his premises on how such a takeover might occur. I also question one
particular scene that has a family going out on a hike well outside the
city wearing flip-flops and sandals, but I guess they are hardy folk up
there. If I were to review it, I'd probably give it three stars.

Since I had Miss Henry #3, "Requiem at Christmas" already downloaded to
my Kindle, that was next up. Short, but a good one. The sentence
structure and vocabulary used in this series really sets it apart from
the usual cozy mystery series. I like that it's treating me like an
adult and revel in the prose. I also especially like the fact that the
main character is a self-reliant female who although is past 50 can take
care of herself rather than swooning at the nearest male to save her
from something or other. Yes, there are several capable men in the
stories who have helped her out in a pinch or when the bullets are
flying, but that's the exception rather than a day-to-day occurrence.
Refreshing! I can relate to that quite well.

I took one for the ram team on the next one though. This was about
180 degrees separated from the Miss Henry series in both prose and
character. I can give a great big "STAY FAR AWAY" rating for this
one which is part of a cozy series with the main character of Dana
Sweet. "Blueberry Cream Cupcake & Murder" by Ann S. Marie is the
second in the series and pretty much guaranteed that I won't be
reading the first, or third for that matter. The dialog was simplistic,
inane, and repetitive and the text was sprinkled with mistaken
homonyms ("vile" instead of "vial," for example) and the usual poor
editing we've unfortunately come to expect in too many of these
self-published odes to cozy. I was beginning to think I had gotten
a mystery aimed at pre-teen readers due to the simplistic babbling
until I hit some of the goings-on with the victim and suspects such
as infidelity, marriage-hopping, and other topics not suitable for
a pre-teen audience. There were a couple of neat twists at the end
on who dunnit and how, but a 2% save at the end didn't cure the other
98% of the book.

It's funny how some self-published authors do well on their own
such as Melanie Jackson is doing with her Miss Henry and the other
series she has going, yet she and those like her are the exceptions.
Most of the self-published types don't bother with an editor or
proofreader (unless it's a friend who is as clueless as the
author) and it shows...glaringly. The problem is weeding the
good ones out of the mix. It's a Good Thing that we have ram
(and similar venues) to shine a light on those self-published
authors who buck the trend and use the venues to spread the word
for other readers to give 'em a try.

So much for the recent past readings. After the Blueberry Cream
silliness, I needed a *real* mystery written by a real author who
knows his grammar and vocabulary lists.

I'm currently about halfway through "Prague Fatale" by Philip Kerr
and am enjoying the main character, the historical setting, and the
plot. I'll be sure to be on the lookout for more books in the Bernie
Gunther series going forward. This one is set in 1941 Berlin and Prague
with our hero juggling with two roles: trying to track down a murderer
of a foreign worker in Berlin as a police commissar and also being
pulled away to Prague to act as both a detective and bodyguard for
his SD boss while surrounded by a country full of people not too happy
to have been taken over by the Nazi regime as the Protectorate of Bohemia
and Moravia.

Blanco County #8, "Stag Party" landed in my mailbox yesterday, so it
has automatically risen to the top of the TBR pile. The future.

Unfortunately my order of Miss Henry #5 from paperbackswap.com was
canceled due to a member not mailing the book, so I'll just have
to wait awhile longer to fill in the missing pieces of that series.

I'll end this missive with a big "Happy Canada Day!" to our ram
friends north of the 49th. Enjoy your country's 150th birthday. I hope
the celebrations for it are at least as good as the ones for the 100th
birthday were.

And a last shout-out to the USAians on ram to have a safe and enjoyable
Independence Day this coming Tuesday. I'll be hibernating and staying
out of crazy traffic until Thursday when it may finally be safe to emerge
from the bunker. ;)

To the rest of ram who don't have a national holiday coming up, you're
more than welcome to share ours. Eat a hamburger or hot dog and watch
some fireworks online to get in the proper mood. There's enough to go
around.

Nyssa, who usually can hear the fireworks, but can never see them over
the trees in the area
Mike Burke
2017-06-30 04:33:22 UTC
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Nyssa <***@flawlesslogic.com> wrote:
<Snipt>
Post by Nyssa
Blanco County #8, "Stag Party" landed in my mailbox yesterday, so it
has automatically risen to the top of the TBR pile. The future.
I've been pigging out on Blanco County, so I'm now well into "Point Taken",
No 10 in the series. They're all excellent.
--
Mique
Nyssa
2017-06-30 19:43:58 UTC
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Post by Mike Burke
<Snipt>
Post by Nyssa
Blanco County #8, "Stag Party" landed in my mailbox
yesterday, so it has automatically risen to the top of
the TBR pile. The future.
I've been pigging out on Blanco County, so I'm now well
into "Point Taken",
No 10 in the series. They're all excellent.
I still need to capture copies of #9 and #10. I keep hoping
that Rehder will get back to Blanco, but he seems to be
stuck on that Roy Ballard series that I don't care for.

Meanwhile I had to spend some time in town this morning
due to taking a neighbor in for some outpatient work at
the hospital (I've seem to have become the go-to driver
for neighbors needing a ride to doctor appointments lately).
I roamed around a Dollar Tree store and came out with
sixteen new books of various genres, mostly mystery and
thriller, for a dollar each. Score!

Nyssa, who now needs to build a whole new tower in the
TBR section for all these new additions
Mike Burke
2017-07-01 06:12:50 UTC
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Post by Nyssa
Post by Mike Burke
<Snipt>
Post by Nyssa
Blanco County #8, "Stag Party" landed in my mailbox
yesterday, so it has automatically risen to the top of
the TBR pile. The future.
I've been pigging out on Blanco County, so I'm now well
into "Point Taken",
No 10 in the series. They're all excellent.
I still need to capture copies of #9 and #10. I keep hoping
that Rehder will get back to Blanco, but he seems to be
stuck on that Roy Ballard series that I don't care for.
Meanwhile I had to spend some time in town this morning
due to taking a neighbor in for some outpatient work at
the hospital (I've seem to have become the go-to driver
for neighbors needing a ride to doctor appointments lately).
I roamed around a Dollar Tree store and came out with
sixteen new books of various genres, mostly mystery and
thriller, for a dollar each. Score!
Nyssa, who now needs to build a whole new tower in the
TBR section for all these new additions
I don't have a problem with the Ballards. But I've reached the stage where
unless I really have to buy a hard copy I buy the E-version. Progressively
I'm cleaning out my bookcases of books that I once collected avidly, often
in signed first editions. A few favourite authors remain, but the culling
is getting fairly radical. My Kindle TBR pile would fill the house in hard
copy. :-)
--
Mique
Nyssa
2017-07-01 12:14:38 UTC
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Post by Mike Burke
Post by Nyssa
Post by Mike Burke
<Snipt>
Post by Nyssa
Blanco County #8, "Stag Party" landed in my mailbox
yesterday, so it has automatically risen to the top of
the TBR pile. The future.
I've been pigging out on Blanco County, so I'm now well
into "Point Taken",
No 10 in the series. They're all excellent.
I still need to capture copies of #9 and #10. I keep
hoping that Rehder will get back to Blanco, but he seems
to be stuck on that Roy Ballard series that I don't care
for.
Meanwhile I had to spend some time in town this morning
due to taking a neighbor in for some outpatient work at
the hospital (I've seem to have become the go-to driver
for neighbors needing a ride to doctor appointments
lately). I roamed around a Dollar Tree store and came out
with sixteen new books of various genres, mostly mystery
and thriller, for a dollar each. Score!
Nyssa, who now needs to build a whole new tower in the
TBR section for all these new additions
I don't have a problem with the Ballards. But I've
reached the stage where
unless I really have to buy a hard copy I buy the
E-version. Progressively I'm cleaning out my bookcases of
books that I once collected avidly, often in signed first
editions. A few favourite authors remain, but the culling
is getting fairly radical. My Kindle TBR pile would fill
the house in hard
copy. :-)
I too have a huge Kindle library which is quickly approaching
the 20K mark. All but about a half-dozen of those books were
free. I check Amazon each day to grab anything that looks
like it might be worth a look. I've found new authors I've
liked that way, then often purchase hardcopies of their other
books, mostly used copies at a discount.

But I still have my "real" book library too. I don't mind
stacks of TBRs or have-reads. I live alone, so there's no one
to complain about 'em. And I can always find something to
read. Plus many of my books are cookbooks, pattern books,
books with maps/chart/diagrams and such that are difficult
to use on a Kindle, so I prefer them in hardcopy.

I don't get to Dollar Tree very often, and it was unusual
to find that many books that were worth a buck. Considering
the location of the store, I doubt there are too many people
who are readers to beat me to the good stuff. ;)

I used to swap a lot of these dollar or other bargain books
on paperbackswap.com when I'd finished reading them, but that
site has gone downhill over the past two years since they
instituted additional fees for membership and swapping. From
the stats on the site, I'd say they lost about half their
former members with the change. Instead of a swap library of
over five million books, it's now down to less than 2M with
similar down numbers for log-ins. I still hang in there and
occasionally do a swap, but nothing like in previous years.
The site owners did themselves no favors adding in those
extra fees. So one less cheap source for "new" books.

Nyssa, who is always on the lookout for bargains, books or
otherwise

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