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Showing posts from November, 2014

Just Don't

I've written before about stop words, those words which are so common we don't notice them.  These words can clog up your story and they're insidious because you don't realize they're there. There's a bunch of them, including "really," "very," and "even."

But the worst is "just."

I was reading an ARC recently and there was a "just" on almost every page. One page had six ... Six!

Since it was an ARC, I hope that these were caught by the author, the editor, or the copy editor before the book hit publication.

But overuse of "just" is not that unusual. I've seen published books with too many just's. "Just," for some reason, seems to be invisible.

I don't know why that is. It just is. *sigh*

So I am asking, pleading, beseeching, begging that you writers out there take responsibility for your just's. Use the word search function. Chances are you can cut 90% of them. Chances are you…

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore Audiobook Review

Title: Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
Author: Robin Sloan
Narrated by: Ari Fliakos
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Publication Date: February 26, 2013

Listening copy via local library

I know I'm not the first to call this a mash-up of Umberto Eco and Doug Coupland because that's exactly what Robin Sloan's Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore is.

It's a mystery about manuscripts and codes, it's a humorous social commentary on Silicon Valley, it's Old World technology meets New Media crowdsourcing. It's a delightful journey on all these levels.

It starts with Clay, a victim of Silicon Valley lay-offs, who finds a job working at a quirky bookstore in San Francisco. What's even more interesting than the odd books are the odd customers, people who come in all hours of day and borrow the books rather than purchase them.

Clay gets his friends to help him figure out the mystery of bookstore, which uncovers a secret world of codes and codex, and maybe even the secre…

Days of Blood & Starlight Book Review

Title:Days of Blood & Starlight
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: November 6, 2012
ISBN-13: 978-0316133975

528 pp.

Reading copy via public library

I didn't do a review for the first book in this series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, which introduces the reader to Karou. Karou is an art student in Prague. She has blue hair and portfolios full of drawings of monsters. Not that out of the ordinary for an art student. Except Karou's hair really is blue and the monsters are her family.

Laini Taylor establishes some first-class worldbuilding with the first book on how Karou's family of monsters are chimera, creatures from another world, locked in a interminable battle with the seraphim, who are angel-like in appearance only.

Karou finds herself attracted to Akiva, a soldier in the seraphim army, as the portal between their worlds is discovered.

So go and read Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I'll wait.

Wow, that was fast. It's…

Rotters Audiobook Review

Title: Rotters
Author: Daniel Kraus
Narrated by: Kirby Heyborne
Publisher: Listening Library
Publication Date: March 27, 2012
ISBN-13: 978-0449014950

Listening copy via Sync

I know it's past Halloween, but seriously, Rotters by Daniel Kraus is pretty much the perfect Halloween read (or in this case, listen).

Joey Crouch lives in Chicago with his mom. He's somewhere on the autistic spectrum, he's probably a little too dependent on his mom, and they live a somewhat isolated life. But he's got one good friend and he's got his trumpet and life is fairly normal for Joey.

Then his mom dies.

Joey is shipped off to a small town in Iowa to live with his dad, a man he's never met or given much thought to. Ken Harnett is known to the locals as "The Garbageman" and the squalid living conditions Joey now calls home seems to validate that name.

Except what his dad really does is so much worse than anything Joey could ever imagine. Harnett is a Digger, a graverobber, par…