Booking Through Thursday: Collections

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Do you prefer to read collections that are all of works by the same author? Or collections by different writers? Consistency or variety?

It kind of depends on my mood.

If it’s a collection of stories by a favorite author, I’m content and happy to read them all. But one of the fun things about a short story collection is the chance to meet new authors or to have a little variety in my reading without necessarily having the commitment of a full novel.


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Review: The Rosie Effect by Don Simsion

The Rosie Effect (Don Tillman #2)

About halfway through Graeme Simsion’s follow-up to The Rosie Project, I paused to wonder if perhaps too much of Don Tillman wasn’t a good thing.

In the sequel The Rosie Effect, we find Don and Rosie living happily together in New York City. Since the end of the last novel, the newly married couple is adjusting to life together when Rosie announces that she’s expecting a baby and their lives are thrown into turmoil. As Don wrestles with the question of how to be a supporting husband to Rosie during this experience and how to be a good father, he makes an increasing number of well-intentioned but misguided choices that begin to drive a wedge between himself and the love of his life. One such choices finds Don landing in hot water because he wants to observe children and parents interacting so he head out to a local playground and starts recording them on his cell phone.

Part of what made The Rosie Project work so well as that while it hit many of the predictable marks for a romantic comedy novel, Simsion gave us a reason to be invested in Don and Rosie and to root for these two to finally get together. In the sequel, Simsion attempts to tear them down in order to build them back up as a couple and potential parents, but those steps end up making Don look less than noble and Rosy less than pleasant. Thankfully, the novel includes a large group of friends for Don (it’s grown to six now for our hero) to help redeem Don a bit and to at least attempt to stick the landing when the novel reaches its conclusion. (How much of the landing it sticks will be up to readers. This one wasn’t entirely convinced, but was entirely relieved). Continue reading

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Way Back Wednesday Review: My Antonia by Willa Cather


Time again for Way Back Wednesday, created by A Well Read Woman. It’s a chance to reflect back on a book that created a lasting impression on us and offer a mini-review.

myantoniaThis week, I’ve picked Willa Cather’s My Antonia.   It’s a book I read a part of my AP English course in my senior year of high school and  recall enjoying it a great deal more than many of the other assigned books that were part of the curriculum.

Two decades later, I picked it up again, partly on a whim and partly out of a desire to visit an old friend and see if it lived up to my memories.

The good news is that not only did it live up to my fond memories of it, it exceeded them. I’ll admit that I’d forgotten portions of the novel, making it feel at times like an entirely new reading experience while at others feeling like I was spending time with an old friend.

Told as the affectionate reminisces of Jim Burden on his lifelong friendship and love for Antonia Shimerda, I couldn’t help but feel as if My Antonia is Little House of the Prairie for grown-ups. After being orphaned, Burden moves to his grandparents’ home on the prairie, meeting the immigrant family the Shimerdas along the way. Jim forms a bond with the family, especially their daughter Antonia. Over the course of the novel, Jim and Antonia come into and out of each other’s lives at various points — the death of her father (a suicide in one of the novel’s more vivid sections), moving to town, growing up, getting married and raising kids.

I suppose if this novel were written today, Jim and Antonia would eventually end up together. However, Cather doesn’t go for the obvious romantic resolution, instead allowing the reader to fill in the blanks on the unspoken love that exists between Jim and Antonia. (The edition I picked up from my local library includes a discarded prologue that has an older, more cynical Jim reflecting on his love for Antonia and seeing her as the “one who got away.” I’ve got to admit I think the novel is better with the revised introduction that is included in most editions). This is a far richer, more nuanced love story than you’ll find in many of contemporary novels claiming to have a love story for the ages.

Re-reading this one, I was struck by some of the simply elegant passages and scenes of this era in American history created by Cather. I will admit that visiting this one again, I am (once again) curious to pick up more works by Cather.

I’m happy to report that this one fully lived up to my memories of it. In fact, it may have been better the second time than it was the first.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Problems With Reading


Time again for the Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.  This week’s theme is the problems you have with books.

And so, here we go.  I’m going to break my list down into some serious and non-serious issues.


1.  My TBR pile seem to multiply when I’m not looking.   It seems as though every time I whittle down my TBR pile just a little, instead of getting smaller, it gets larger.  I blame myself for this one entirely and my lack of willpower.  There are just too many books that looks good or that I find recommended by other book bloggers that I want to read!    I also blame this on the “my eyes were bigger than my stomach” theory.   This can be really bad when it comes to my local library and/or getting digital ARCs.

2.  Not enough time to read.   If I could just figure out how to give up sleeping, I’d get a lot more reading done!

3.  My “next book to read” list constantly changes.   The minute I come home from the library or download a digital ARC or come home from the bookstore, my intention is to read that book I just picked up next.    As soon as I finish my current read or reads.  This rarely happens unless it’s certain authors like Stephen King, Elizabeth George or Michael Connelly.  More often than not, I put the book into the pile with good intentions to get to it and then find another book distracts me before I get to it.

4.  Forgetting I’ve got a TBR pile on my Kindle.   My Kindle is wonderful because it allows me to have a zillion and one books ready to read at the drop of a hat or my next whim.   It also allows me to carry around a virtual library without the weight of an actual library.  It also allows me to ignore a large chunk of books because they aren’t sitting there in a pile, wondering why I haven’t read them.

5.   Apps on my Kindle can distract me.  I’ve got a Paperwhite and a Fire and I love them both.  And while the Fire is great for reading comic books or collected comics, there are times when that game of Angry Birds With Friends calls out to me and I substitute it for reading time!    Continue reading


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Musing Mondays: What Are You Reading?


It’s time again for Musing Mondays, hosted by Should Be Reading.

This week due to President’s Day, there’s no random question.   So, instead I’m going to answer one of the weekly questions the meme poses.

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

What I’m currently reading — I’m currently participating in the NetGalley challenge to try and clear some of my backlog of ARCs.  I’ve modified it to include both NetGalley and the Amazon Vine program.  That’s why I’ve got a lot of books on my “currently reading” plate right now.

Up next, I’ve got a couple of Doctor Who tie-in novels.  One is an audio book and the other is ARC of the latest Peter Capaldi era novel.

In the past week, I’ve been busy blogging as well.  Here’s some of what I posted.


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All Good Things: A Star Trek Podcast, Episode 30: The Game


This week, Barry and I discuss some of the Star Trek video games we’ve played over the years.  And no, we haven’t played them all.

Take a trip down memory lane with us as we share our thoughts, memories and frustration with just a few of the games including the Vectrex game based on TMP, to the Promethian Prophecy, the Kobyashi Alternative and the infamous 25th Anniversary Game.

And don’t forget to let us know if we’ve missed your favorite!

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Comic Book Friday: Star Trek: The Q Gambit

Star Trek: Ongoing, Volume 9: The Q Gambit

IDW’s re-imagining of classic Star Trek installments in the rebooted timeline takes a break for a couple of issues with the ninth collection, “The Q Gambit.”

After debating with Picard about the reality of a “no-win” scenario, Q decides to put the one man who didn’t believe in the “no-win” scenario to the test. Q arrives on the Enterprise in the rebooted universe and after some spirited debate with Kirk, Spock and others sends the ship and crew forward in time to the Deep Space Nine era and a very different outcome to the Dominion War.

Seems that the Enterprise‘s vanishing threw the time line in an entirely different direction — one where the Federation fell and the Dominion had an easy time conquering the Alpha Quadrant.

On paper, this seems like it should be a fun, entertaining little “what if” story. But I found the story overstayed its welcome a bit as it worked a bit too hard to make sure we got a check-in with every character from DS9 and got to see them pair off with various members of the rebooted original series crew.

An interesting little twist comes late in the narrative, but by this point my interest had really waned.

I’ve enjoyed much of what IDW’s done in re-imaging some of the original episodes in the rebooted universe and their lead-up stories to both movies really offered some new and interesting shadings for the two films. “The Q Gambit” represents the first significant mis-step I’ve seen in this series. Hopefully the series will get back to the elements I enjoy in future installments and the next collection.

In the interest of full disclosure, I received a digital ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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