BOOK REVIEW: Ragnarok by Kai Mjaanes is about grandparents

This book was a DNF for me, because I’m just not the reader for it. What first attracted me to it was the Norse myth the book is based on, but it didn’t seem to be an interpretation I could really champion theologically. It could also be the translation? I don’t know. It seems to also have been written in Norwegian first.

This book also opens with a dream sequence, which made me work hard from the start. The Norse myth in the book doesn’t…make sense to me. It’s kids saving the world from Ragnarok and Ragnarok isn’t something you can really avoid in Norse mythology… I find when books try to tackle this subject, it’s problematic, but I always want to give them a shot.

I will probably give this to my little cousins who will probably appreciate it more. Maybe it’s a good fit for those who like the Percy Jackson series (I am not one of them). It had a very Stranger Things vibe — kids on bikes and solving mysteries. It was almost too precious of a novel to let me keep going.

The main character has a grandfather with alzheimer’s–or maybe it was another form of dementia–but it was very nice to see a relationship between grandkid and grandparent played out in a story. I love my own grandmother and think that there isn’t enough “elder” representation in stories these days.

Buy the book here.

Read more about it on Goodreads.

I was sent this book in exchange for an honest review.

TBR – Grand Theft Octo by Niels Saunders

When Jonathan Doe is fired from his office job for stealing too much stationery, he becomes an entrepreneur of businesses the world has never seen. After a disastrous start at freelance taxidermy, he moves onto professional octopus teasing. Will he fail again or make his fortune? Is he really a professional or just a con artist? Desperate to succeed, his plans become more outlandish, from stealing theme park mascots at gunpoint to fighting deranged restaurant tycoons. As the enemies he makes seek revenge, both his life and business are threatened, until his world spirals into mayhem and violence. Set in the fictional city of Vestibue, England, Grand Theft Octo is a wild and hilarious ride that strikes at the heart of aspirational culture.

People will write and read anything. I swear to god.

Read more on Goodreads.

TBR – De Facto Feminism by Judy Juanita

DeFacto Feminism: Essays Straight Outta Oakland views activism and feminism as they play out in one writer’s political, artistic and spiritual life. A distinguished semifinalist for OSU’s 2016 Non/Fiction Collection Prize, De Facto… is a cross between Audre Lorde’s Zami: A New Spelling of My Name and Jean Toomer’s Cane, blending essay, poems, graphics and literary criticism. An act of self-definition spanning four decades, the central person in DeFacto… is the writer herself, a feminist foot soldier. With the feel of memoir, these essays align with female thinkers Anna Julia Cooper, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Lorde, Alice Walker, Michelle Wallace, Angela Davis, bell hooks, Paula Giddings, Michelle Alexander, Roxane Gay and Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche.

I would donate this one to my library if I had a copy.

Buy on Amazon.

TBR – Molly Bell and the Wishing Well by Bridget Geraghty

Molly Bell is an eleven-year old girl who used to be a whimsical, sporty type of a child with a zest for living. All that has been turned upside down by the untimely death of her mother two years ago. To make matters worse, her father is getting remarried to a high-maintenance beauty that Molly seemingly has nothing in common with, and she comes with an annoying six-year old son, Henry, who finds a way to wreck everything in his path. Molly can’t find anything about her new circumstances to be excited about, until her Aunt Joan tells her about the wishing well at Molly’s grandparents’ farm. According to Aunt Joan, every wish she ever made there came true. And it just so happens that Molly and Henry will be staying at the farm for a week while their parents are on their honeymoon. Molly is convinced if she could just find that wishing well, she could wish for her mom to come back to life and everything will be okay again. But Molly is in for a few surprises, and more than a few hard lessons about being careful what you wish for when the consequences of Molly’s selfish desires wreak havoc on her entire family. Can Molly make things right again through the wishing well? Or will she need to find it within herself to bring back the joy in her life that has been missing all this time?

Sounds like a twist on the Labyrinth flim. I like the sound of it.

View it on Goodreads.

Author website.

TBR – The Year of Uh by Jud Widing

For the first time in their lives, nineteen year-old Nur De Dernberg and her younger sister Deirdre are leaving Seychelles, Africa. They’ve come to Boston for a year, but not to party with the college kids – they’re here to learn English. Nur, trapped by her inability to speak the language and her sister’s inability to speak in anything other than clipped wisecracks, finds herself in a strange country with nobody to talk to; she is dreadfully, existentially alone.

Until, that is, she goes to language class and meets Hyun-Woo. Despite sharing no common language, Nur feels something distinctly spark-like between them. Thus commences an awkward courtship…maybe? Is it a courtship? Does he feel for her the way she feels for him? Does he know how she feels? Then again, does she? Nur is beset by questions that would be easy to ask, if only she had the words. Those words are coming slowly, though, while her feelings for Hyun-Woo are thundering along at a more breakneck pace.

This sounds uhhhh-mazing.

View on Goodreads.

Book Review: Libraries Partnering with Self-publishing: a Winning Combination was kind of useless

I wasn’t too impressed with this one. It was more fluff than help – basic intro into things I feel like librarians could discover on their own if they are really interested. Without this book.

Half the book is just about the industry – traditional and self-publishing – when the title makes it seem like you should already know a bit about it (though why so much was spent on traditional, I do not know).

In parts, it speaks to self-publishers directly, but doesn’t tell them things like what the hell CIP data is or the routes librarians normally go through to purchase books. There’s no insider perspective here for the authors. ISBNs are covered. Big whoop.

And the book doesn’t really tell libraries how to do said discovering and selecting of self-published books. I got no new help from these pages.

There is plenty of focus on doing author events in libraries or how to set up self-publishing programs. But nothing – NOTHING – to help normalize the actual discovery of self-published authors. What’s more, libraries can’t seem to help indie authors without forcing them to “local” author duties. And even then the spotlight isn’t on their work but the fact they are indie or self-published or are part of “the community”…

That’s not a “winning combination.” It’s not doing a lot of normalizing for the authors or the books.

Let me give you an example: BiblioBoard’s Self-e program selects authors to showcase in it’s main curation and those that don’t make the cut (based on what standards, I do not know) are delegated to sub-packages based on state location. But guess what? If your state doesn’t have a library that subscribes to a sub-package, the “local” ebooks just sit there. Never being looked at. Wasted material. The “local” or “by location” mindset doesn’t do it for this librarian. I want to discover books from all over the world and use my own criteria to select those. Right now, the relationship between libraries and self-publishers is still very one-sided. Libraries are getting all the benefits: desperate authors coming through the door. Foot traffic. Being needed.

The power is still all in the library’s hands.

Sure, we’re giving it to the big publishers screwing over our patrons and stifling diverse voices. It’s great that libraries are trying to meet a community need/want. But I fail to see what the authors are getting out of this. It’s just giving them a hobby. Like genealogy.

What I hear: “Gottah keep the masses busy somehow. They’ve already finished researching their family tree. Why not tell them to write a book about it?” #UGH

Art shouldn’t be treated like genealogy.

We aren’t really making self-publishers more discoverable.

Current mood:

Maybe I wouldn’t have been so mad if this had been written more for librarians and not both parties.

There is a good chapter on open access in here, if you are wanting to look into scholarly self-publishing…Which I can get behind.


TBR – End of The World: The Beginning by Nesly Clerge

The year is 2050. The Order of World Society governs the globe, the weather, the currency, and all facets of people’s lives. The Peace for All Agenda is anything but peaceful. Scientist Gayle Conyers’ life in this new societal structure is orderly, routine,focused, safe. Then it isn’t. A renowned scientist forces her to work on a secret project that goes against her ethics and the Order. A protester warns her about the Order’s web of deception and the approaching end of days. Gayle soon finds herself with a foot in two worlds: A scientific realm that intends to alter humanity for all time, and a spiritual one, where she’s enmeshed in stories of prophecy, destruction, and the Apocalypse. Gayle remains skeptical. Until the event that stuns the world, one that causes her to face the realization that this may, indeed, be the beginning of the end.

Woman scientist? Cool, cool, cool.  Also, seems like Christian Fiction. Read the comments on Amazon for more info.

Buy on Amazon.

BOOK REVIEW: So Many Books by Gabriel Zaid

This was a very short little book – 144 pages (now out of print, I think). It had a lot of good quotes and observations on the state of the publishing world and I think every English Major should be required to read it so they consider the weight of what the literary world is doing – how it adds and subtracts from the world.

I disagree with Zaid on 2 points in this work, though. At one point, he says that the world is overpopulated with humans as well as books, but that one is the greater legacy than the other (children). I disagree entirely with this. Even if you write something that barely anyone reads or enjoys, you have connected with a specific group of people who understands you. You get no guarantee that a child will ever understand you, or that they will continue your legacy (once they stop breeding, your DNA becomes a dead legacy). A book lasts longer than generations. Ask Homer.

If humans vs. books, the lesser of two evils is more books. More books means more variety and option. More humans means less of everything. That was such a stupid statement on his part. Too romanticized and too whimsical. It risked undermining all his other observations for me.

It made my mind shoot in anger to thoughts like: What if the aliens could read all the books? What if time was nothing to them? Maybe then all books would matter. And what about the robots? Maybe the robots want all our books. Maybe our books will help better them. How selfish of him to think that books are less than humans. Some stories are certainly worth more than whole countries. Wars have been started in the name of stories and books and authors (religious books not the only ones). Don’t tell me that a single human is worth more than books. There are greater readers than us out there.

The second beef I have with this book is his blind faith that publishing will automatically equal diversity. At the very end he crams it in without it being fully supported by his argument. Half of his argument actually works against the idea of diversity–pointing out the publishing industry’s flaws.  I was left thinking “Wait, what? How did we get here? How did we get to diversity?” But then again I’m not so sure he defines diversity in the book, so we might be talking about two different “diversities.”

He covers sports and other forms of entertainment–comparing them to the book in ways I had never considered. It’s worth a read. And doesn’t take up your time. He makes a point of it not to, because he practices what he preaches.


TBR: The Gospel of the Rauschmonstrum

The story of how Jesus was tricked into thinking he was the son of God by a shape-shifting monster known as the Rauschmonstrum.
It is a tale about love, cruelty, misunderstanding, agonizing despair, walking on water, healing the sick, and one unusual case of a person being impersonated after their death.

Sounds plausible.  Sounds irreverent. Sounds worth reading.

The story reminds me of all those Bible specials on the Discovery Channel or History Channel or whatever Wasting Time Channel where they try to blame biblical events on Aliens.

I’m calling it “Jesus fanfiction.”

Really is on my TBR pile.

It’s a novella at 163 pages.

Buy it on Amazon.


TBR – Satan’s Grip by Paul Sherman

Inspired by the black magic novels of Dennis Wheatley. Esther’s eighth birthday. The day that her mother, Charlotte, had been fearing. As a teenager, Charlotte had gotten involved in a satanic cult and had made a promise to Satan that he could have her firstborn child. At the time, she really didn’t believe any of this was true. It was just a silly thing she did to fit in. But now… Can Charlotte save Esther from Satan’s grip? Or is she destined to fulfill that long-ago promise?

This is another book I agreed to read but haven’t yet. The cover looks fantastic.

Buy on Amazon.