Podcast 367, Your Transcript Awaits!
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Articles / September 8, 2019

The transcript for Podcast 367. The Vagina Bible, Shoes, and Other Essentials: A Conversation with Dr. Jen Gunter has been posted! This podcast transcript was handcrafted with meticulous skill by Garlic Knitter. Many thanks. ❤ Click here to subscribe to The Podcast →

Contemporary Romance, Mysteries, & More
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Articles / September 8, 2019

Gunpowder Alchemy RECOMMENDED: Gunpowder Alchemy by Jeannie Lin is 99c! This is a steampunk romance set in China, which Carrie loved and graded an A-: I had a great time with this book, I loved the setting and the characters, and I can’t wait for the sequel.  In 1842, the gunpowder might of China’s Qing Dynasty fell to Britain’s steam engines. Furious, the Emperor ordered the death of his engineers—and killed China’s best chance of fighting back… Since her father’s execution eight years ago, Jin Soling kept her family from falling into poverty. But her meager savings are running out, leaving her with no choice but to sell the last of her father’s possessions—her last memento of him. Only, while attempting to find a buyer, Soling is caught and brought before the Crown Prince. Unlike his father, the Emperor, the Prince knows that the only chance of expelling the English invaders is to once again unite China’s cleverest minds to create fantastic weapons. He also realizes that Soling is the one person who could convince her father’s former allies—many who have turned rebel—to once again work for the Empire. He promises to restore her family name if she’ll help him in his…

Lightning Reviews: Dragons, an Amish Anthology, & a Contemporary Romance
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Articles / September 8, 2019

We have quite the…disappointing trio of Lightning Reviews. Hey, they can’t all be winners. Below are reviews for a YA fantasy novel with a bisexual heroine, an anthology of Amish romances, and a workplace romance set at a museum.   C- The Brides of the Big Valley author: Wanda Brunstetter This is a collection of inspirational novellas written by three generations of Brunstetter women. Each story follows a different couple in the intertwined community of Big Valley, Pennsylvania where three Amish communities with varying levels of observance live in harmony. The writing is uneven but all the characters have non-farming jobs, which is unusual for this sub-genre. I frequently read Amish and enjoy farm settings, but it’s nice to see an acknowledgement that farming alone isn’t sustainable for many communities. The stories include trips to local restaurants, named with the real locations, where characters describe menu items in bizarrely specific detail. The result feels at times like an awkward advertisement. For example: “[He] placed his order for a Saddlers Run sandwich, consisting of turkey, bacon, avocado, mozzarella cheese, and tomatoes on sourdough bread.” In “Deanna’s Determination”, a widowed mother of a special-needs child is courting her late husband’s best friend….

Discussion: What Are Your Stages of a Book Taking Over Your Waking Life?
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Articles / September 8, 2019

I realized recently that there are signs and stages when I’m enjoying a book so much that it starts to take over or at the least influence my routine. There’s the obvious sign of staying up too late (Bad Decisions Book Club). And there’s the stages of book release anticipation that Aarya wrote about wherein one might reserve an entire day or call in “sick” on a Very Important Tuesday or Release Date. Sometimes, as Aarya also pointed out, a reader can combine both, waiting for the ebook to arrive between midnight and 3am, and reading immediately upon arrival. That’s like Platinum Status Bad Decisions Book Club. Then there are the occasions when I won’t know a book has the power to influence my day and bend my schedule to its will. I’ll start a book that seems like it might be fun or interesting, and then I notice that I’m reordering my to do list, my schedule, and my time in order to read more. I have reading time built into most days already, but when I want more time and the book starts commandeering my calendar, well, that’s a sign of a very good book. What activities become…