March 27, 2015

Judging Books by Their Covers: A Lesson Learned

You all know I like to judge books by their covers. A couple of weeks ago I posted a photo on Facebook, "Judging Books by Their Covers: Garage Sale Edition" (hand modeling work done by my friend Meghan, who alas does not have a hyperbaric chamber.)

But then last week I had an experience where I nearly judged a book by its cover, and I'm so glad that I didn't!

Based on the cover I never would have picked up The Ladies of Managua. Frankly, I only started it because after Shelf Awareness sent me the ARC, I checked, and it was available on Netgalley. So since it's easier for me to read e-books these days, I gave it a chance, and I REALLY enjoyed it! It's a family saga set in Nicaragua, telling the story of three women.

The first is Isabela, the grandmother and high society lady. Next, her daughter Ninexin, former Sandinista revolutionary, current government minister. And finally Maria, Ninexin's daughter, a would-be artist who has escaped her family's tangled history to live in NYC, until her grandfather's death calls her back to Managua. ‪The book alternates between the perspectives of these three very different women, making for an engaging read, with an awesomely lush background. I'll post my full review later, once it's run in Shelf Awareness.
Have you ever regretted judging a book by its cover?

March 25, 2015

Feeling Smarter: Links and Things

  • Liking Grammarly on Facebook means that my news feed is now full of awesomeness like the above picture.
  • I'm fascinated by this article about how speaking a second language can change your brain.
  • This podcast episode is making me think hard about some of the tech choices in my life, especially with regard to the kids.
  • Daily French practice on DuoLingo is making me feel smarter. (I think you can connect with people you know? I'm JessAHow if you want to try to find me.)
  • I'm officially 23 books ahead of schedule on my 2015 reading challenge, ha!
  • We broke out the wading pool today, because it's practically summer here.
  • Don't forget, the giveaway is still open!
  • I thought Fuck You, Clean Reader: Authorial Consent Matters was funny and very profane, and pretty accurate. (I almost edited that to F*** You... but since the whole article is about the use of profanity in literature, I feel like I can't censor it!)
  • And leaving you with the awesomeness of this video where Tom Hanks reenacts all of his movies in less than 7 minutes. If you haven't seen it yet, go watch it now!

(Update: in the comments Missy G pointed out that I linked to the wrong article for the F--- You one, it's fixed now! Thanks Missy.)

March 23, 2015

Book Review: Who Buries the Dead by C.S. Harris (and a GIVEAWAY!)

I love the Sebastian St. Cyr mystery series so very much. You're probably well aware, since I've raved here and here and here about previous books in the series. So I was very excited when the publisher sent me a copy of the latest title, Who Buries the Dead, for review.

In 1813, Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, is rather enjoying domesticity and his new son. But he's called to help the Bow Street magistrates yet again, when the body of a socially ambitious man is found on a bridge, with his head stuck atop a spike. The victim, Stanley Preston, is best known for three things: his cousin is the Home Secretary, he owns a large plantation in Jamaica and he's an obsessive collector of historical artifacts (and isn't too picky about their provenance)--which perhaps explains the coffin strap, reading "King Charles, 1648," found nearby.

Investigating Preston's life draws Devlin into the scary, hidden world of grave robbers and smugglers, as well as high-society events where government officials, debutantes, lords and plantation owners mingle. Using his own contacts, and those of his father-in-law, who is close to the Prince Regent, Devlin will stop at nothing to find Preston's murderer. Unfortunately for the safety of Devlin and his family, the killer is equally determined to keep his identity hidden.

With excellent historical detail, Harris again brings the Regency era to life in Who Buries the Dead, the 10th thriller starring Devlin. Who Buries the Dead also includes sly, tongue-in-cheek references to Jane Austen's books, since Jane herself is a close friend of Stanley Preston's daughter. Those who enjoy historical mysteries, Jane Austen and Regency fiction will enjoy Who Buries the Dead on its own. And longtime fans of the series will be happy to see intriguing developments in Sebastian's unduly complicated personal life. (I don't want to spoil anything for you, if you're new to the series, but wow is Sebastian's life really tangled. Siblings, half-siblings, mistresses, enemies, and constantly shifting allegiances make this series so much fun.)

Want to win a copy of Who Buries the Dead for yourself? Luckily the publisher agreed to provide a second copy of the book for one of you! Just fill out the form below (you may have to click through to see the embedded form if you're reading via a feed-reader). I'll choose a winner by March 31st, and notify you accordingly. US/Canada only please.

Notes: I received a copy of the book from NAL, but my opinions are all my own. The main part of this review was originally published in Shelf Awareness.