Board Games and Books

As much as I love books and reading, I also love board and card games. I can spend hours playing games like Ticket to Ride or Code Names. I recently came across an amazing game that combines my love of games and books and if you are a book lover who enjoys a good game, I strongly recommend Ex Libris.

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In Ex Libris you are a library gnome competing to create the best library to become the new librarian. The game is 1-4 players. I’ve yet to try the solo mode, so I can’t say anything about the quality of it. The objective of the game is to create your library shelves. In order to do so you will have a few book types to focus on. You’ll want to avoid banned books, gain extra points for having a lot of prominent works, and you’ll also have your own specialty category to focus on. These categories are chosen randomly from the cards, so the cards change each time for these areas. In total there are 6 types of books. You have to shelve your books in alphabetical and numerical order. Continue reading “Board Games and Books”

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Review: Daughter of the Pirate King

I can’t resist a good historical fantasy, and this book was no exception. Daughter of the Pirate King is a swashbuckling story about Alosa, a kickass pirate captain capable of taking care of herself, even when taken prisoner. She also has a secret: she’s part siren, giving her more tricks than your average lady pirate. I give this one four stars.

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Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King. Continue reading “Review: Daughter of the Pirate King”

Lessons from the Slush

Those who follow my blog by now should be super aware that I’m an editor. I’ve edited for 5+ houses, but I’ve also been a literary agency intern and assistant. I wanted to take a break from all my book reviews to discuss some of my experiences on the agency side in regards to the slush. One of my first thoughts after getting a peek at the slush during my internship was that I wish I’d gotten that experience earlier in my editing career. I think it’s useful experience not just for aspiring agents, but also editors and writers. It gave me a whole new respect for acquiring editors and a better understanding of the acquisitions process. I found there was a lot to be learned from the slush.

As an editor I don’t deal with acquisitions, just the edits that come after. That means I often heard tales about the slush, but until I interned with a literary agency I never saw it for myself. The most surprising aspect of seeing it? How many of the subs had decent writing. Sure you get authors who don’t follow guidelines and aren’t in querying shape yet, but I was surprised by how many subs I read that had passable writing. I was expecting a lot more of it to be nowhere near ready. My first dive into the slush to find something to pass to my agent caused me to struggle to decide what to pass on since as an editor I was so used to taking something no matter the quality and polishing it. As I got more experience with the slush, it became much easier as I learned to pick out the best writing and most eye-catching stories. The editor in me could see possible edits for many submissions, but as I learned through experience some of them just needed too much work. I was used to making editing decisions after acquisitions, not deciding what to acquire, and that was the big learning experience for me.  I learned how to spot quality in the slush and pick out the gems. Continue reading “Lessons from the Slush”

Why I Quit Reading a Book

Once upon a time I insisted on finishing every book I started. Mostly because as a kid ebooks weren’t a thing yet and I didn’t want to waste the money spent on books. I also only got a handful of new books a year so I wanted to savor them all. These days I’m more likely to put down a book I’m not enjoying before finishing it. When I can’t get into a book I’d been eager to read, it leaves me with the predicament of when to quit reading. I do a lot of my reading via the library now, and when I buy books I try to read the first chapter before I do.

It took quitting a few books before the guilt of not finishing finally left me alone. Sometimes I want to know how the story ends, but I’m not enjoying the journey. In that case once it feels like a slog for more than one chapter I just look up the book to see how it ends. More recently while reading Hunted I decided to quit as soon as I began to feel bored. The truth is I have so many books on my reading list that I don’t want to waste my time on something I’m not feeling when there are so many other books calling my name. These days my to-be-read list grows faster than I can read. I give every book at least three chapters to catch my attention. A few get put down just from scanning the first chapter, while I make it farther in others before quitting. Continue reading “Why I Quit Reading a Book”

Girl on the Golden Coin – Book Review

I recently got a Goodreads account and for the first time I’m taking part in the yearly reading resolution. I’m hoping it will motivate me to stay on track. My first read of 2018 was Girl on the Golden Coin: A Novel of Frances Stuart by Marci Jefferson. Marci is the same author who wrote The Enchantress of Paris, one of my favorite historical reads of 2017. Once again Jefferson didn’t disappoint and I can’t wait to see what her third novel will be about. I loved this book and I give it 4.5 stars. First up, the plot. There are some big spoilers about the story in this post, so don’t read if you want the book to be a total surprise.

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Impoverished and exiled to the French countryside after the overthrow of the English Crown, Frances Stuart survives merely by her blood-relation to the Stuart Royals. But in 1660, the Restoration of Stuart Monarchy in England returns her family to favor. Frances discards threadbare gowns and springs to gilded Fontainebleau Palace, where she soon catches King Louis XIV’s eye. But Frances is no ordinary court beauty, she has Stuart secrets to keep and people to protect. The king turns vengeful when she rejects his offer to become his Official Mistress. He banishes her to England with orders to seduce King Charles II and stop a war.

Armed in pearls and silk, Frances maneuvers through the political turbulence of Whitehall Palace, but still can’t afford to stir a scandal. Her tactic to inspire King Charles to greatness captivates him. He believes her love can make him an honest man and even chooses Frances to pose as Britannia for England’s coins. Frances survives the Great Fire, the Great Plague, and the debauchery of the Restoration Court, yet loses her heart to the very king she must control. Until she is forced to choose between love or war.

On the eve of England’s Glorious Revolution, James II forces Frances to decide whether to remain loyal to her Stuart heritage or, like England, make her stand for Liberty. Her portrait as Britannia is minted on every copper coin. There she remains for generations, an enduring symbol of Britain’s independent spirit and her own struggle for freedom. Continue reading “Girl on the Golden Coin – Book Review”

Book Reviews and Subjectivity: The Selection Review

I’ve posted about subjectivity before and while it can determine what books we like to read and write, it can also play into how we review books. I found myself thinking about this recently after I read and reviewed The Selection by Kiera Cass. When I reviewed it the average rating on Goodreads was 4.15 stars. I rated it 3 and the more I think about it, according to my tastes it’d be more of a 2.5. However the series is a bestseller and there are a ton of reviews gushing about the series. However, it wasn’t to my tastes. I can see why the story did so well, but I found too many aspects about the writing and book itself weak. This book is a great example of subjectivity since while I, one reader, found the book to be lacking, the book still became a popular series.

The Selection is basically The Bachelor for teens. Let’s take a moment to review the blurb and cover for it. One thing this book does have going for it is a gorgeous cover.

10507293For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined. Continue reading “Book Reviews and Subjectivity: The Selection Review”

Why I Love Fantasy and Historical Fiction

I read in many genres, but the two genres I read the most in are fantasy and historical fiction in adult and young adult. At first those may seem like an odd combination, after all one focuses on what could be and the other what was, but for those very reasons they go together so well. I love contemporary now and again, especially contemporary that deals with tough issues like breakups, mental illness, and other struggles, but when reading for myself I like to escape into fiction that is different than reality. Both fantasy and historical fiction fill that gap for me. At times I often wish historical fiction got as much attention as fantasy. Continue reading “Why I Love Fantasy and Historical Fiction”