Sunday, April 28, 2013

Hilcia's Weekly Reads + News

It's Sunday and a beautiful day! Hope you are having a good day too! My schedule is a bit more relaxed and not only did I read this past week, but I had the chance to visit a few of my favorite sites  and found a few interesting bits to share.

Weekly Reading:

My week began with A Family Affair by Mary Campisi. I thought this book might be a romance, but it turned out to be more contemporary fiction with a romance that develops in the middle of the whole angst-ridden storyline about a dysfunctional family. When Chrissy's father dies, she finds out that for fourteen years he had a second, secret family. Devastated, she keeps the information from her mother and goes to confront his father's long-time mistress only to find more than she expected. Campisi uses the dual narrative style, alternating between Chrissie and her Uncle Harry. There's a problem with finding sympathetic or unselfish characters in this story, and the romance felt as if it was tagged on quickly after much hostility between the couple. I would say there's much promise in the premise and some good elements to the story, but the execution doesn't live up that promise. Grade C-

Next I decided to check out Megan Hart's upcoming release, The Favor.

This book is due to release on June 25th, but once I had it in my hot little hands I read it immediately! Why? Well, it's Megan Hart and once begun, I couldn't put the book down but will post my review closer to the release date. I can give this much information to fans of this author as clarification -- so the book can be read with the correct expectations and won't end up disappointing. The Favor falls under the contemporary fiction or literary fiction category, this book is NOT an erotic or a traditional romance. Reading a book with the right mind-set always helps me.

I followed up by picking up the digital edition of When Love Comes to Town by Tom Lennon.This is a "vintage" young adult LGBT book set in Ireland in the 1990's. This coming-out story was initially released 20 years ago.  In many respects it is dated, but sadly, I found that it is also still very relevant. I read this story with both time and place in mind, which was not easy to do. Additionally, despite the title of the book which makes it seem as if it is a romance, I would say that this story falls more under the gay fiction with romantic elements category. I enjoyed it and will review it soon.

I also read Changing Lanes by Kathleen Long. Which did not signify that I really changed lanes in my choice of reading material at all since this book is also contemporary or women's fiction. There is a romantic thread that runs through the storyline but it is not the focus of the story. I love that Changing Lanes is set in a very recognizable New Jersey, but I'll tell you all about that in my review. This book releases May 14th.

But of course I didn't just read fiction the whole week! I also read poetry.

Throughout the week I picked up and slowly read Senegal Taxi by Juan Felipe Herrera, a small volume of poetry that is both political and raw in content. Herrera uses the voices of three children to focus his poetry on the suffering and horrors of war in Darfur. Reading Senegal Taxi was a heart-wrenching experience that has not loosened its grip on me yet. Juan Felipe Herrera was appointed California's 2012 Poet Laureate. Upcoming highlights.


Looking for The Gulf Motel by Richard Blanco
is the other poetry volume I chose to read last week. Blanco's uses a narrative style in this emotional biographical piece that touched and in some ways soothed me. I recognized and connected with many of his personal conflicts as the child of a loving, if tough and judgmental, immigrant Cuban family. I laughed in some places, but strongly felt his emotional anguish and nostalgia in others. This is a book I will definitely re-read. Richard Blanco just won The Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBT Poetry. Upcoming highlights.

And, I concluded my week by reading the novelette “The Fountain” by G. David Nordley from Asimov's SF Magazine. My first encounter with Nordley's work turned out to be solid. I enjoyed the science fiction details in this piece, but most of all I really like the way Nordley portrays an alien race that is so different from humans, yet end up teaching humans a lesson or two about compassion. I was absorbed by this piece all the way to the end. Read Carl's detailed review at SF Signal here. Grade: B
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News:
Replacing Google Reader: I am experimenting with Feedly vs. The Old Reader to see which one works for me. So far, I'm loving Feedly's format. It was a snap to transfer information across devices, and I found that it updates RSS signals quicker than The Old Reader.

Editorial Post: If you haven't check it out yet, don't miss Wendy's post "Libraries, What Are They Good For?" at The Misadventures of Super Librarian. In her excellent post, Wendy tackles controversial reactions to digital lending by authors who see libraries as "The Problem."

SFF: The 2013 Aurora Award nominees have been announced by the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association. The awards will be presented at Can-Con (www.can-con.org) in Ottawa, Oct 4 – 6, 2013. Check out the list here.  From the novels nominated on that list the only book I have in my TBR is The Silvered by Tanya Huff!

LGBT: Congratulations to Trebor Healey for winning the 2013 James Duggins Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Prize and The Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBT Fiction

 for A Horse Named Sorrow (University of Wisconsin Press)

. I've dubbed this "Trebor Healey Week."

Looking forward to another great reading week!

6 comments:

  1. Wow you had a great reading week. I'll have to keep my eye out for that Megan Hart book. :)

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    1. Tracy, it was better than expected. And yesss, definitely check out The Favor! :)

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  2. That sounds like a great reading week! And I'm intrigued about some of this!! thanks for sharing your reads :D

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    1. Alex, it was a better week than expected. I'm happy with the reading and certainly with some of the books I picked up! :D

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  3. Hey, thanks for the shoutout! Knew about the upcoming Hart, didn't realize it was another general fiction title from her. I read and enjoyed All Fall Down (general fiction, not romance, erotic or otherwise....) - so definitely will want to check out this new one.

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    1. Wendy, I found your post quite relevant and wanted to share it.

      I have not read Hart's previous fiction title(s), but I will most definitely look up All Fall Down. I'd love to read your thoughts on The Favor. ;P

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