Monthly Archives: September 2013

booknosh.com is on a vacation!

Hey Folks!

We’re taking a brief vacation, possibly doing some structural and design reorganization, and will come back one way or another sometime in November 2013 :)

See you then!

Posted in Uncategorized

Lemons are Not Red (Laura Vaccaro Seeger)

Recommended, Repeatable

This is an incredibly clever children’s book. It goes through a series of things made up in pairs: the first page shows a cut-out of a lemon, against a red backdrop, and tells you “Lemons are not red” you turn the page, and you the cut-out is now against a yellow background, you’re told “Lemons are yellow” and you see the next page “Apples are red” (which provided the backdrop for the lemon). It’s clever and cute and has all the objects and pictures that are right in the wheelhouse of a 2-3 year old toddler. The only problem is, if you have a energetic toddler, who might want to interact with the book, some of the cut-outs are a little fragile, so I’m not positive how careful you’d have to be if you really wanted to rotate this into your regular routine. An older kid would probably get bored, and a younger one might not have been trained well enough to be that careful…

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Posted in Children's/Young Adult

Heart of Veridon (Tim Akers)

4 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
Heart of Veridon is a weird mix between a film-noir style detective thriller and very weird clockwork fantasy. The juxtaposition of these two dissimilar styles mostly works, but the book inherits flaws from both genres. On the plus side, the story moves quickly and is quite engaging, the supporting characters are unique, the protagonist is consistent, and the setting is distinct and interesting. There isn’t a moment that you feel fully immersed in the setting or feel like you really understand how it functions, but the glimpses you catch into the everyday life are quite different from what you typically see in fantasy. I would definitely recommend this book, but probably more to people who like action and an interesting setting than to people looking for intricate plots and interpersonal interactions.

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Posted in Sci-Fi/Fantasy

The Convenient Marriage (Georgette Heyer)

2 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
Though this has the trademark Heyer wit as well as the thoroughly well-crafted setting and side characters that you would expect, it’s just not very… romantic. Horry, the heroine, comes across as gullible and annoying, and though Rule is interesting in a typically controlling-stereotype way, it’s almost upsetting to see him fall for her. It’s unfortunate because it’s an interesting twist on the standard romance — they marry for convenience fairly early, he even keeps his mistress, but they fall for one another gradually… except the romance of it all just isn’t believable, and is, by far, the weakest part of this book!

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Posted in Romance

Dangerous Masquerade (April Kihlstrom)

4 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
I’m going to admit that I first read this book years ago, reread it, and liked for reasons that were half enjoyment and half nostalgia. This is a good, “old-fashioned”/not terribly sensual/overly dramatic-at-times regency romance: the believably terrible villain, the quiet yet strong hero, the quick-on-her-feet and easy to relate to heroine… if you delve too deeply into any one character or plot point, things might start to fall apart, and it takes itself very, very seriously (no flashes of humor that are so common in more recent historical romances)… and yet, it’s a good read, well done within its self-imposed constraints and enjoyable even now, years later.

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Posted in Romance

Blood Song (Cat Adams)

3.5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
Blood Song is a generic, urban fantasy, kick-butt heroine, vampire hunter thriller. All the rote copied elements of ditzy urban fantasy with the possible exception of the excruciatingly banal love triangle are present here. The protagonist is very blatantly a wish fulfillment power fantasy, the writing gets very choppy in parts, and the story doesn’t really hold together completely when looked at with all the information. Despite all this, as urban fantasy goes this book is definitely a cut above most of the genre. It moves well, the plot isn’t at any point based on characters making excruciatingly bad decisions, and the setting is actually kind of engaging. This isn’t great literature; it isn’t even a departure from the formula for this genre of books, but if you want to read urban fantasy, then I would say that Blood Song will probably be something of a treat for you, as it is markedly better than most in the genre.

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Posted in Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Sleep Book (Dr. Seuss)

Not Recommended, Not Repeatable

Though the story premise is cute (we’ve got a little bug who starts yawning, and soon it’s catching!), the story ends up dragging. It’s got the lyrical rhymes you expect, the made-up words and names that are wonderfully alliterative (Van Vleck and his cousins, etc)… but it just goes on for a little too long, and doesn’t have quite the charm that other Seuss books have. Definitely one of my least favorite Seuss offerings, which is a shame, because topic-wise, what a perfect book to help put your toddler to bed!

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Posted in Children's/Young Adult

The Spirit Thief (Rachel Aaron, The Legend of Eli Monpress #1)

4 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
The Spirit Thief is a fairly traditional fantasy romp emphasizing fun and excitement over depth and character building. This is the first in a series, but most of the characters come already fleshed out with at least allusions to fairly extensive backstories. I enjoyed this book; the setting is mostly just traditional medieval style fantasy, but the magic system and mythology were at least fairly distinctly setting specific. Maybe it is due to the fact that this book serves to begin a series, but I felt like the story could have used a bit more work. It feels a bit like the author has the characters up on a shelf like toys, takes them down to play with a bit, then carefully picks them up and puts them back to pretty much the in exact same place they were when the story started. I prefer a bit more character development lasting from book to book other than literally “Oh darn my favorite coat got ripped.” The villain just sort of pops up out of nowhere and doesn’t feel nearly as fleshed out as most of the other characters. I would still say this book does a great job as a fun romp and would recommend it for that, but I feel like there is quite a bit of untapped potential here which disappoints me a bit.

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Posted in Sci-Fi/Fantasy

A Proper Companion (Candice Hern, The Regency Rakes Trilogy #1)

1.5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
An interesting-enough beginning, as well as a well-fleshed out cast of characters, are wasted on this slow, meandering book that felt, at times, more like a synopsis than an actual story. Too often, instead of seeing her characters interacting and falling in love with one another, we were instead told they really got along, or watched as others observed and commented about how well-suited they were. Halfway through the book, the lack of forward momentum really starts to show, and an evil villain, along with an eye-roll-inducing series of “twists” help lead us through the back half of the novel. While there were interesting scenes every now and again, and, again, the characters were interesting (and at times, quite witty), there just wasn’t enough to keep my attention, and finishing it was a bit of a chore.

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Posted in Romance

A Match for Sister Maggy (Betty Neels)

4 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
This is a very standard, middle of the road Betty Neels novel (which for me, is still a win, see below). There’s a nurse (this time she’s tall, pretty, and has an independent streak), and a doctor (Dutch, who offers her a job in Holland). There’s the requisite amount of new dresses, tea-drinking/fancy-dinner eating that is both foundational to, and trademark of, a Betty Neels romance. This one relies (sometimes too much) on misunderstandings, and small displays of temper (by both of them), but is still an enjoyable way to pass an hour… maybe two.

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Posted in Romance