January 31, 2021

Taste the Books: Review Morsels #21 Kali Wallace, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Gene Doucette


Intro


Hello beauties!

Welcome again to my own brand of mini reviews! I never thought I'd do minis, until I recapped a few of my long reviews in some digest post in 2014, and then guest-posted some shorties for a blogging event in 2015. And Karen from For What It's Worth started praising my short recs/recaps 😊. Just to be clear,  I'm NOT taking a break from writing long reviews - no such luck LOL. But while I'm making up my mind about a new book I've read, I might as well give you the short version 😉. Just be warned - this feature will be VERY random!

Note: all the mini blurbs (in italics) are of my own creation.

January 26, 2021

Tell Me Something Tuesday: Do You Reread? And Are You Ever Tempted to Change Your Ratings When You Do?


Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly meme created by Heidi at Rainy Day Ramblings in order to discuss a wide range of topics from books to blogging (and some slightly more personal matters thrown in for good measure). While Heidi is on an extended hiatus, there are five of us who are hosting it and providing the questions. The current team is composed of Berls at Because Reading Is Better Than Real LifeJen at That's What I'm Talking AboutKaren at For What It's WorthLinda at Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell and Roberta at Offbeat YA. This week's question is...

DO YOU REREAD? AND ARE YOU EVER TEMPTED TO CHANGE YOUR RATINGS WHEN YOU DO?

I've been a rereader all my life. In my pre-blog days, the main reason was that I couldn't afford new books often and/or I was out of the loop about what was coming out and when. I didn't even have a favourite genre (though even then I ruled out romance). So...I just went on rereading old favourites (or even books I was lukewarm about). Since 2012 - when I started my blog - I've been a rereader with a purpose. I know what I like, I even buy my small (for budget reasons) stack of books per year, I sometimes get blessed with an eARC...but I still don't own tons of books, nor I harbour the desire to. I'm very picky with the ones I buy, and even with the free ones! And admittedly, even that isn't always enough to save me from bad fits, but at least they are in the minority. And I still reread all the time, because to me, books are made to be enjoyed times and times again 💚.

January 19, 2021

Tell Me Something Tuesday: Bookish Jobs: If You Could Do Something in the Bookish World for Employment, What Would You Choose and Why?

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly meme created by Heidi at Rainy Day Ramblings in order to discuss a wide range of topics from books to blogging (and some slightly more personal matters thrown in for good measure). While Heidi is on an extended hiatus, there are five of us who are hosting it and providing the questions. The current team is composed of Berls at Because Reading Is Better Than Real LifeJen at That's What I'm Talking AboutKaren at For What It's WorthLinda at Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell and Roberta at Offbeat YA. This week's question is...

BOOKISH JOBS: IF YOU COULD DO SOMETHING IN THE BOOKISH WORLD FOR EMPLOYMENT, WHAT WOULD YOU CHOOSE AND WHY?

One of "my" authors (that is, those who I regularly beta-read for) once told me that I had gone above and beyond my beta requirements (because I also point out typos, word repetitions and such - it's in my nature 🤷‍♀️) and I would make "an amazing copy editor". According to Wikipedia, copy editing is basically "the process of revising written material to improve readability and fitness for its purpose, as well as ensuring that text is free of grammatical and factual errors". Now, while I think she was giving me more credit than I deserved, I realised that copy editing is a job I could do (maybe after a bit of self-training...or actual training...to refine my skills) and I definitely would enjoy doing. Too bad that I'm not built for free-lance jobs, because I don't know how to take care of all the side work AND the stress involved in them and I don't even want to...

January 10, 2021

Karen Foxlee: "The Midnight Dress"

Title: The Midnight Dress [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: None
Author: Karen Foxlee [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Thriller/Mystery, Contemporary
Year: 2013
Age: 14+
Stars: 5/5
Pros: Atmospheric read, with characters who get under your skin. Evocative writing.
Cons: Quiet (if gloomy) story, where not much happens - at least on the surface.
WARNING! Description of a dead body (not graphic). Suicide by hanging. Alcohol addiction. An inappropriate relationship. The prelude of a would-be sex scene. A couple of male anatomy references.
Will appeal to: Those who can appreciate a subtly woven, darkly magical tale.

Blurb: Quiet misfit Rose doesn't expect to fall in love with the sleepy beach town of Leonora. Nor does she expect to become fast friends with beautiful, vivacious Pearl Kelly. It's better not to get too attached when Rose and her father live on the road, driving their caravan from one place to the next whenever her dad gets itchy feet. But Rose can't resist the mysterious charms of the town or the popular girl, try as she might. Pearl convinces Rose to visit Edie Baker, once a renowned dressmaker, now a rumored witch. Together Rose and Edie hand-stitch an unforgettable dress of midnight blue for Rose to wear at the Harvest Festival - a dress that will have long-lasting consequences on life in Leonora, a dress that will seal the fate of one of the girls. (Amazon excerpt)

Review: This is not only a reread book (which is usually the case when I write a full review), but a re-reread one. And I ended up giving it the full 5-star treatment (I originally rated it 4.5 in my 2018 mini-review), because even if not much happens, the story, the characters and the overall magic never get old for me. Also, just so you get your bearings: the story is set in 1986, in a small Australian beach town.

THE HEART OF THE MATTER

This is one of those quiet books where - despite a murder (and a murder mystery at that) being at its center, and a suicide occurring later in the story - it feels like nothing happens...except there's a lot boiling down the surface. I wouldn't even go as far as to say that it's character-driven, though some of the characters do stand out. The best way I can describe it is, it's magic-driven...and no, I don't mean magical realism. It's just that the atmosphere, the protagonist, the dressmaker's family tale, the (spellbinding) writing, all together create a thing of beauty, sad and melancholic, and yet warm and cozy like an old blanket. The mystery itself isn't hard to figure out, even if until the end there's an ambiguity about the perpetrator...but not about the victim, not anymore - if there ever was, because to me, it was clear early on which of the girls was killed...and then again I don't think that her identity was the point: it was more about how she ended up there. What I mean is, for a murder-mystery-centered book, TMD reads awfully (or, well, beautifully) like a mesmerising story about family and friendship, memories and choices, and about how love won't necessarily save you but can damn you instead. [...]

January 05, 2021

Tell Me Something Tuesday: What Are Your Blogging Goals for the New Year? (+ Last-Minute Life Update)


Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly meme created by Heidi at Rainy Day Ramblings in order to discuss a wide range of topics from books to blogging (and some slightly more personal matters thrown in for good measure). While Heidi is on an extended hiatus, there are five of us who are hosting it and providing the questions. The current team is composed of Berls at Because Reading Is Better Than Real LifeJen at That's What I'm Talking AboutKaren at For What It's WorthLinda at Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell and Roberta at Offbeat YA. This week's question is...

WHAT ARE YOUR BLOGGING GOALS FOR THE NEW YEAR?

I have already covered them in my 2020 wrap-up, but this post will allow me to elaborate a little further...
  • I mean to be consistent with my posts, but I'm not striving for big numbers. My three latest blogging years have been a crescendo - 59 posts in 2018, 64 in 2019, 72 in 2020 - but I want to avoid burnout, not to mention I have to study for the infamous public examination that should take place sometime in 2022. I'd be contented to reach 52 posts - one per week - and anyhow, I swore to myself I'll never, under no circumstances, force myself to write more than 5 posts per month this year*. Well, unless one of "my" authors (the indie/small pub ones I beta-read for or I support) needs my help to spread the word about one of their new projects...
             * Note: except when I have a Review Morsels post (like this month), because they're
              copy-and-paste from my GR mini-reviews, so there's practically no work involved...
  • I'll definitely keep posting backlist reviews (not only because I get very few ARCs - I've been genuinely far more interested in forlorn and lesser-known books than in popular ones since I started my blog) and to support the aforementioned indie/small pub authors - I mean all those whose books sound appealing, not only the ones I know personally.
  • I want to keep better track of YOUR posts in order to spotlight them in my Tooting Your Trumpet series. I've skipped a couple of rounds lately, and I feel guilty...
  • Speaking of which, I mean to be better at commenting (which isn't strictly a blogging goal, but it does fall under the "blogger activities" umbrella...). I need to stay on top of your posts AND to comment more, also under reviews - which I sometime read without saying nothing, or I sometime DON'T read because those particular books are not my genre...but since most of you do read MY reviews anyway and are so kind as to comment, I should at least make an effort to reciprocate! Time is scarce sometimes, but heck, isn't it for us all?

January 01, 2021

It's That Time of the Year Again...A.K.A. The Big Annual Book Haul 2020-21

 Hello sweeties!


Today I'm doing that thing I usually do in January...that is, showcasing my big (um, actually, a little smaller than usual this year...for reasons I will state below) annual book haul. But since this post was scheduled a few days ago, a small live (and life) update first...

I spent the last hour of 2020 and the first one of 2021 in the E.R. Apparently, suffering is all I deserve.

Anyhow, the fact is, I suddenly developed a sharper and sharper pain roughly under my right shoulder blade, so nasty I was struggling to draw a breath. An anti-inflammatory medicine made it bearable for a while, but then it was back with a vengeance, so I had no choice but to go to the E.R. To cut a long story short, it turned out my heart is OK, but I'll have to take a chest CAT scan to investigate the roots of my issue - and in the meantime, I'm on painkillers (I'm better now, if "better" means being able to breathe - not TOO deeply, mind you - without feeling like someone planted a blade in your back). Thank goodness I'm not having one of my nasty coughs (yep...grateful for small favours and all that. And well...it could have been EVEN worse. Like, happening-on-my-birthday worse). So...yeah, welcome, 2021.

And now, back to my new books...

Some of you might remember that my birthday is close to Christmas - just 11 days before it. So, as per my usual birthday/Christmas tradition, every year I order a bunch of books from this Italian site that sports a wide selection of books in English as well (or, from two sites now, because I discovered a second one last year). And I post the list on here for the world to admire. Except, this year, some of the books I was looking forward to weren't available anymore - or yet. I suspect that, for the former (or a few of them at least), the pandemic is to blame - there's been less money around, so probably some books have been issued in smaller numbers. It looks like some are being repackaged as paperbacks though, which means I'll have to keep my eyes on them - and on the ones that weren't out yet when I placed my order - and request them later in the year...(Anyhow, as I'm writing this, my first lot has arrived, with Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant and Fatal Descent by John Rhode and Carter Dickson). For now, here goes my list, broken down by genres/Reading Rooms...(P.S.: all the books are YA unless otherwise stated).