Reading Roundup! March 2018

I’ve really enjoyed doing these monthly recaps of my reading, because it highlights some habits I wouldn’t have noticed before. Like, why do I keep reading so many things that already have movies? Since Gone Girl, I’m pretty much good to just watch the movie if there’s one available. This ain’t the old days. Hollywood is a lot better about matching the glory of their adaptations, and there are too many great books to discover to just read what’s on TV.

So I gotta work on that. And work on reading more short stories. And novellas. And more from LGBT authors!

This month, I got a couple novellas in. Progress!


Ready Player One

Ernest Cline

2.5 out of 5 stars (2.5 / 5)

I’ve never given such a low rating to a book I enjoyed so much. If you’d have caught me in the middle of reading it, I would be yelling “FIVE STARS FIVE STARS FIVE STARS!” If it was the length of a YA novel, I’d probably do the same. But the more distance I get from the book, the more I think it’s garbage. All style – borrowed style at that – and no substance.

I’m sure I’ll enjoy the movie, but I’m not falling over myself to see it.

Goodreads review.


Cheryl Strayed

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Audiobook. I’ve been wanting to read this for a really long time. Cheryl Strayed’s advice columns as Dear Sugar were always a step above all the rest, using her own reflections of past mistakes to help others. The book only disappointed in one aspect: who the hell picked the narrator for this audiobook? They have this gravely voiced old lady telling a story about a twenty-something girl. I could buy that it’s an older woman reflecting on her life, if Cheryl Strayed were anything like an old lady now. She ain’t. Totally jarring from the real voice of Cheryl Strayed already in my mind. I’m honestly shocked they didn’t re-record it with Reese Witherspoon after the movie.

Goodreads review

Soldier Son #3: Renegade’s Magic

Robin Hobb

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

The concluding volume of the Soldier Son trilogy for my Hobb re-read group. This was my first time engaging in a group read and, I gotta say, I’ll probably never do it again. Especially for a series. I felt like the last man standing, wandering through the forest talking to myself.

That aside, this trilogy was even better the second time and I’m glad to have gone back. Hobb’s ability to foreshadow, write believable characters, and draw together a mindblowing ending are unparalleled. Everything else feels rather dry afterward.

I stand by most of what I said after first completing the trilogy back in 2007, and you can read more about that here.

Write into the Dark

Dean Wesley Smith

3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

This teeny little book is nice validation for a writer that flies by the seat of their pants, but at the asking price it’s a total rip off for the size.  I’ll save you some money:

  • It’s okay to write without an outline
  • It’s okay to write however is natural to you
  • Maybe consider regularly cycling back through your work and revising as you go to avoid the trap of endless drafts

There, done.

Goodreads review

Widow’s Point

Richard T. Chizmar & Billy Chizmar

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Holy shit. This is one wallop of a novella. Classic, found footage ghost story set in a lighthouse with a tragic past. Perfect for Halloween night, or any night that you just want to stay in and scare yourself. Set aside an evening to read this all in one go, I cannot recommend it enough.

Goodreads review

How was your month in reading? Anything good? Terrible? Didn’t get to what you wanted to? Let’s hear it!

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