T.B. Markinson and Miranda MacLeod: Holly and Ivy

DNF. Reviewing here but not on GR coz I con’t want to be mean. I wanted to like this FF holiday-themed romance, with a chilly techie, an offseason vacation island setting, and even a part-Maine coon cat – all super on-brand for me, but the prose was just too clunky and the plot had tooContinue reading “T.B. Markinson and Miranda MacLeod: Holly and Ivy”

Courtney Milan: After the Wedding

I very much appreciate how Courtney Milan inverts and subverts familiar romance tropes, and “After the Wedding” is no exception: it literally starts with a wedding, in which the principals are forced at gunpoint to marry, and their efforts to obtain an annulment, coupled with their inconveniently increasing mutual attraction, drive much of the plot.Continue reading “Courtney Milan: After the Wedding”

Holly Messinger: The Curse of Jacob Tracy

Reminds me almost equally of TV’s Deadwood and Angel – impressively researched post-Civil War setting with a complex supernatural ecosystem in a series of nearly self-contained novellas that gradually advance a larger plot. Novel finds some degree of closure, but more seems indicated, and I’m eager for follow-on.

Naomi Mitchison: Travel Light

“Travel light” is an exhortation protagonist Halla hears at one point in this singular slim book; it’s a tactic that enables her to travel farther and faster than she otherwise might, not being unduly burdened. It’s also a tactic the book itself employs, moving from what at first seems to be a fairy tale thatContinue reading “Naomi Mitchison: Travel Light”

Joe Meno: Demons in the Spring

One of the things that impresses me most about Meno is how adept he is at both naturalistic and magical realist* fiction. Two of my favorite stories in this collection, “Miniature Elephants are Popular” and “Airports of Light” explore striking, original, and emotionally resonant metaphors for grief and loss. (I thought the similarly themed “TheContinue reading “Joe Meno: Demons in the Spring”

Jo Stanley: Bold in Her Breeches: Women Pirates Across the Ages

A history of female pirates faces formidable challenges: career criminals tends to be systematically sensationalized and mythologized, pirates were overwhelmingly from a socio-economic class virtually ignored by traditional historians, and the doings — or even presence — of women is likewise ignored by many historical sources. A handful of female pirates left a verifiable historyContinue reading “Jo Stanley: Bold in Her Breeches: Women Pirates Across the Ages”

Tobias Moskowitz and L. Jon Wertheim: Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won

Ye gods, someone wrote a sports book for me. Except it’s not, quite, because a lot of it is not specifically about baseball. But there was more than enough baseball to keep me engaged throughout. Moskowitz and Wertheim apply scientific rigor to analyzing why perplexing issues like why teams and managers consistently make suboptimal decisions,Continue reading “Tobias Moskowitz and L. Jon Wertheim: Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won”

Jack Matthews: Hanger Stout, Awake!

Hanger Stout, Awake! arrived to my library hold shelf after I’d lost all recollection of what had called it to my attention. It was written in 1967, and was my first exposure to Jack Matthews. Superficially, it doesn’t seem like my kind of book at all. Clyde Stout, who involuntarily assumes the nickname Hanger, isContinue reading “Jack Matthews: Hanger Stout, Awake!”

Jay Asher, Carolyn Mackler: The Future of Us

The Future of Us has a cool conceit: two teen friends in 1996, Emma and Josh, install a magical AOL CD-ROM that lets them log into Emma’s Facebook account from 15 years in the future. There’s a dash of social satire, some of which is executed with a heavy hand (I get that for muchContinue reading “Jay Asher, Carolyn Mackler: The Future of Us”