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2018 Books I Dig

I’ve put off posting this for two days, but there weren’t any entries for the giveaway.

Unfortunate, but I might could have planned a better time for it. And it isn’t like that’s going to stop me from trying again at the end of this year, so I’m going to try and make 2019 better than 2018.

That starts with planning things out and figuring what I can do, what needs to be postponed, and how to make a schedule of some stripe work for me.

In any case, everyone have a great rest of the week! Posts will resume next week.

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Last Call

It’s the last day for entries in the 2018 Books I Dig Giveaway. Remember, entries end at midnight central time tonight.

One last time, the books up for giveaway are:

K. C. Alexander’s Necrotech: A gut punch of solid writing and a really interesting read.

Necrotech cover

Edgar Cantero’s Meddling Kids: The meeting of Lovecraftian horror and Mystery’s Inc. that hits a ton of nostalgia points.

Meddling Kids cover

And, of course, Seanan McGuire’s Sparrow Hill Road: A series of stories about a ghost, the Phantom Prom Date, in her own words.

Sparrow Hill Road cover

All three books have been five star reads for me as well as being books that I would talk about ad infinitum if prompted. They’re also all three signed by the author.

So, if you want the chance to win one of these books, follow this blog and either hit the link up above and answer the question there or answer the question here. Dealer’s choice on that.

Question is, what’s your favorite end of the year tradition? Alternatively, what did you most enjoy reading this year?

Winners will be picked using random.com and announced tomorrow, January 1st.

I’m also only able to ship to winners in the United States.

House Keeping 12/25/18

Here’s the part where I try to come up with something to say.

I’m kind of excited. I finally got a review written last week, so this week feels a lot more possible. It might be late but it feels like something I can do instead of a blank monolith staring back at me. That’s a really good feeling, I gotta say.

Some fun stuff heading this way during the new year. More on that later of course.

Also, there’s still time on the Books I Dig Giveaway.

And, that’s about it. Standard things, if you like what I’m doing here feel free to leave a comment or a like. Show me what you’re interested in so I can try and do more of that. And, of course, if you really like what I’m doing you can feed my caffeine addiction and buy me a ko-fi. Proceeds this month are going to a local food bank.

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a review, hasn’t it? With any luck it won’t be another long skip before the next one. I’ve really enjoyed these books though, so it’s a little odd that I haven’t been talking about them super animatedly. In any case, this one’s thanks to the folks at Curiosity Quills Press. Here’s Richard Roberts’ Please Don’t Tell My Parents I Have a Nemesis. Enjoy!

Please Dont Tell My Parents I Have A Nemesis cover

After dealing with heroes and villains and upper level math it’s summer time for Penny Akk and the Inscrutable Machine. Well, maybe, she’s still got homework thanks to her parents finally giving in and showing her the super hero ropes. Too much of that and they’ll catch up before she can shed her Bad Penny persona and confess. Add to that an angry Jovian, a sniveling villain wanna be, and a ghost seeking a future and things get a little complicated. Penny has a lot of threads to tie up before she can go full hero but where there’s a will, and a body swapper, there’s a way.

The penultimate book in the Please Don’t Tell My Parents series is a pretty solid setup to the finally and generally does a good job of tying up loose ends. We get the return of previous characters and wrap up for their stories. Things that have been hinted at are coming to fruition. It works.

A lot of this comes from the fake Bad Penny plot line getting dealt with and the return of the Apparition. This one ties into Penny’s need for emotional growth and more attention to empathy. She wants to do the right thing, but can get really wrapped up in the things she wants to do or being given attention for her power. Our favorite tiny mechanic from beyond the asteroid belt, Remy, has followed Penny and company back to Earth to deal with their villainy once and for all. She can’t trust Penny due to their friendship being broken, but she also really wants to trust the friend she nearly had. The Apparition wants a full life again, to go back to being Polly Icarus and experience the world properly again. It’s a good moment seeing Penny try to step up for both of them even as she fumbles some to do so.

I do feel like Penny’s solution to her Bad Penny problem and all its odd complications are a reflection of the same sort of emotional immaturity that Remy’s issues with her come from. Just, deciding that literally fighting herself would be easier than telling them is such a fantastic young protagonist thing. She’s so nervous about how her parents would react and what they’d think that that is the easier solution. It drags a little in places, but it’s a fantastic character note. Bonus, when her robot double shows some of the same issues she does while also feeling like she’s the more good Penny.

Heart of Gold is really interesting to me because of how very not Penny she can be. She’s like this paladin of heroism, detached from human worries and conflicts, just this force driven to do good regardless of her own safety. More conflict between Penny and Heart of Gold could have been awesome, give time and space to build things up to their big fight. Let Heart of Gold’s conflict show more.

That’s sort of a thing with the series, conflict doesn’t tend to feel like it’s quite simmered long enough so things can feel like they’re coming out of nowhere. It’s usually in service to the plot, but it can feel like a mini in medias res moment. The other character knows where they’re coming from but neither Penny nor the audience has caught it. The flip side to this is that the reveal for the book is fantastically built up. It isn’t something I would have expected, but it worked and was well supported. I do feel like the mechanism for it is a little iffy though. Again, a sort of weak spot in service to a really good plot point.

I continue to enjoy this series and really want to see what comes next. There are bits I wish were a little more ironed out. Penny’s weirdness over Cassie’s crush on her is something I could do without. Little things mostly, things that are understandable from a character stand point but not something I’m here for. Nothing that would make me not want to keep reading. I really want to see some of the side characters expanded on, possibly getting their own series. The world seems big enough for it. Overall, Please Don’t Tell My Parents I Have a Nemesis does a good job gathering things together for the finally and tying away the bits that have reached their conclusion. It gets a four out of five.

House Keeping 12/18/18

I’ve announced the big thing I’ve been excited about and am looking forward to people’s reactions. Year end giveaway is going to last two weeks, so check it out if you get the chance.

Work is going to be seriously packed this week, but we should be past the worst of it. Yesterday was expected to be the busiest day of the year for us. Now to just move on to sorting things out here.

Hopefully.

At any rate, I’ve got plans for the next couple of weeks for here. I’m going to work towards getting them done and getting things prepped for the start of next year. It’s time for optimism at any rate.

But, yeah, I don’t have a ton to talk about here. On to the standard stuff I guess? If you like what I’m doing here, feel free to leave a comment or a like. Let me know what you think or enter the Books I Dig Giveaway. If you really like what I’m doing here, you can feed my caffeine addiction and buy me a ko-fi. Any proceeds from that this month are going to be donated to an area food bank at the start of the new year.

I’ve mentioned something that I’m super excited about a few times in the past couple of weeks. This is that. See, there were a number of books this year that I really enjoyed and really want to share with you all. So, three readers are going to win one of three books that I’ve either reviewed this year or that come from a series I’ve reviewed this year.

Cool, right? Let’s make it even more fun, all three books are going to be signed by the author. So, what are the books I’ve decided excited me the most this year, the books I am so ready to share with all of you?

Well, there’s the first book in a series I talked about a bunch of times back during the Fall Into Books challenge. K. C. Alexander’s Necrotech. I still want to talk about these books anytime I’m given the chance and probably will.

Necrotech cover

And, as much as I enjoy a good cyberpunk story, let’s add a ghost story to this list. Let’s talk about a hitchhiker who’s been wondering America’s roadways since she was killed, the girl in the green silk gown. Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire, a book that left me hunting the sequel through a number of bookstores.

Sparrow Hill Road cover

Then let’s follow up the ghost story with a nice Saturday morning cosmic horror story. Those kids and their dog have been waiting an awfully long time to solve that last mystery, the one that split them up and left them broken. Edgar Cantero’s Meddling Kids. This is another one that I still want to talk more about, so look forward to that.

Meddling Kids cover

So, rules and whatnot. How can you get your hands on one of these awesome stories?

Sometime between now and when the giveaway closes at midnight central time on December 31st, you’ll need to follow this blog and then comment below.

As to what you should comment about, let’s make it thematic. The year is coming to a close, tell me about your favorite reads of the year. And, of course, which book you want or your order of preferences on which books you want.

You’ll also need to live in the continental US and be comfortable with sending me your mailing address after winners are announced. I’ll be using random.com to choose winners for the sake of fairness and that announcement is going to come January 1st by midnight.

Good luck!

House Keeping 12/11/18

We’re getting closer and closer to Christmas and I am super excited to see family and gift my younger cousin a truly ludicrous amount of instant noodles. His idea as much as mine, this year at least.

It also means that we’re getting closer to my super top secret end of the year plans and I am simultaneously super super excited and way nervous. More on this coming up soon!

Been feeling weirdly nostalgic lately. Not sure what caused that. Maybe the new She-ra cartoon. Maybe just the season. Rolling with it either way. It’s kind of nice.

That’s about it for this week. If you like what I’m doing here feel free to leave a comment or a like. Always good to hear from folks. And, of course, if you really like what I’m doing here you can feed my caffeine addiction and buy me a ko-fi. Anything I get from that this month is going to an area food bank. Have a great rest of the week!

I’ve been meaning to talk about this for ages. Ages. Like as soon as I found it.

oddvoice_twitter

So, what’s my interest in this particular Kickstarter?

I’ve probably mentioned it before, but my Mom is a teacher. Has been for as long as I can remember. She and my Dad encouraged me to read as much as I wanted as a kid, with a handful of exceptions they figured I was too young for, but it was a thing growing up. Then, a bit over a decade ago, the school Mom teaches at had her develop a new class. Something to get students into a science elective they were excited for. The Forensic Science class. At first it was her and another teacher, but she wound up running it solo pretty quickly when that teacher got the chance to cover another class she enjoyed teaching.

My Mom is a nerd friends.

A nerd who found a way to get her students to think critically about the components of the books they read for class with a really cool project. See, early on she found an internet post featuring Barbie cleaning up  after apparently murdering Ken. She loved the idea and, a bit of research later, found a lot of nifty Barbie boxes that were based on scenes from movies or books. So she started putting together a list of mystery novels she liked, stuff she had read and could reasonably judge if it was forensic class friendly and if her students were paying attention when they made their boxes.

More importantly, she picked things that were solid writing so the kids would want to read them. My Mom had students come into her class who would only begrudgingly do class reading, but who would leave her class looking forward to continuing the series they picked from for their project. I don’t know if these kids stayed interested in reading, but I do know it was something they had found a love for at that time because Mom had the right books for the right project for the right class. She had something that made the chore of school reading fun rather than a slog to put off as long as possible.

Given that at the time I was suffering through Literature classes, it was mind blowing. It became something that I really wanted for other students, other classes, other schools. The whole deal.

I’m looking forward to what Odd Voice Out does with their school outreach work and, being entirely honest, I hope it results in something like this.

I’m hoping that their focus on non-typical main characters and diverse voices will grab readers’ attention and do for them what that list of mysteries and crime novels did for my Mom’s students and more.

As a fun bonus, Odd Voice Out was kind enough to send me a bit from one of their authors about why the Kickstarter is important to both the publisher and her.

“We want to begin 2019 with a mission to bring diversity in teen fiction to a much wider audience, and this Kickstarter campaign enables just that. With funding and pledges of as little as $1, we can engage with high schools and youth groups on the subject of representation in fiction, encourage their young creative minds to make a difference in the world, and send our press to YALC, the largest UK Young Adult literature convention. This is the place where thousands of influential readers, writers and industry executives take notice of new movements in fiction, a place where our Odd Voices can be heard on a global stage.”
– K.C. Finn, multi-award winning author of Fallow Heart
kick1

So, if you’re interested in what Odd Voice Out is doing, they’ve met their goal on Kickstarter and with three days left you can help support not only their first two novels but also the next two and future authors and possible school visits and a whole rush of other fun things. Definitely give it a look!

Full disclosure, after asking if they would be cool with me posting about this approximately an eternity and a half ago, I was invited to review both books featured in the Kickstarter. That has no effect on my coverage here, nor will it affect my reviews when they go live.

House Keeping 12/5/18

I’m still working on reviews. Same holding pattern as ever there.

That said, holding patterns are patterns and patterns can be broken. It just takes work.

Even better, I’m working on something that’s got me super excited. I’ve just got to iron out the last few details. I should be able to make a proper announcement sometime in the next couple weeks. It’s going to be an awesome send off for the year.

Also, I need to change it over, but for the rest of the month, anything I receive from ko-fi this month is going to go to charity at the start of the year. I haven’t decided what charity yet, likely one of the local food banks. I’ll have that on lock for next week’s house keeping post.

And that’s it for this week. Standard stuff, if you like what I’m doing here feel free to leave a comment or a like. I’m a bit of a rambly mess lately but I still like hearing from folks. And, of course, if you really like what I’m doing  you can feed my caffeine addiction and buy me a ko-fi. Either way, have a great week!

 

House Keeping 11/29/18

I’m behind, behind, always behind. I’m still working on reviews, chugging along. But I’m a little worried that Christmas will be here before I’m done with the ones in progress now.

It’s still fun, I admit. I’m still enjoying reading the books and I have a fair amount to say, I’m just too scattered to get it down just now. That’s the part that’s not fun.

You keep going though, do the dance, sing the song. I’m exhausted though, we’ve had so many Christmas packages shipped already and this is just the beginning of things for the season. I need to start making myself write right when I get home instead of taking a nap. That might help with the catch up.

I’ve actually got to do it for that to work though.

Bringing up a thing again, the Odd Voice Out Kickstarter has successfully made its base goal with fourteen days to go. Anything from here out will allow them to do more with education outreach and the publishing house as a whole. So, give them a look, it’s definitely worth it.

The World of Darkness campaign is running at a decent clip, I still need to do some posts for that. My character is not as much of a character in game as originally intended, so I’m trying to figure out how to approach that. Since she’s sort of my planned framing device for the posts here.

That’s about it for this time. I’ve got a thousand ideas rattling around, just gotta crack them open and let them simmer a bit. If you like what I’m doing here feel free to leave a comment or a like. Tell me your holliday retail horror stories. If you really like what I’m doing, you can feed my caffeine addiction and buy me a ko-fi. Any funds from that will be going towards a replacement video camera for introducing some video essay type things to the blog and, possibly, doing box openings for the monthly Second Star Books box. In any case, have a great rest of the week!