Elizabeth Blair Books

Even a bad guy can have redeeming qualities



September Galleys

There are two big book “seasons” in library world.  The first being spring when all of the light, airy, summer reads are released.  Then there is fall…better known as “award season.”  This is when all the heavy, literary fiction debuts in hopes of making the book award cut off times.  When looking at galleys, though, you’ve probably already heard about the buzzworthy titles (Nutshell, Dollhouse, Wonder, Gentleman in Moscow) which are now circulating in ARC format to the masses.  It makes it hard to come up with a list of “under the radar” titles for you to check out.  But, I’ve given it my best shot. Continue reading “September Galleys”

July Reads

Aside from galleys, this month I stuck to reading from my TBR pile.  As a huge fan of Carlos Ruiz Zafon, I’ve been recc’d Arturo Perez-Reverte by about a hundred people.  Every book related website I visit has the two authors side by side and when you go to make a purchase online, the two are always found together.  I finally accepted it as a hint that wouldn’t go away and delved into three of his titles this month.


Queen of the South  is probably the most well-known of his titles here in the US.  It sparked a series on the USA channel which garnered a lot of praise.  The book is a great introduction to him as a writer.  It’s very accessible as a story without being too overbearing in characters or plotlines.  I enjoyed it, even though it wasn’t what I expected as a “literary thriller” and I saw no relation to Zafon (other than it being a Spanish translation).


Seville Communion was my favorite of the three titles I read.  The names and places were hard to grasp and I kept confusing the characters.  I think that was entirely my failing as a reader, however.  Since the names were not common to my first language, it made it difficult for me.  It was a slow read, one to savor rather than just rush through.  Still not sure it qualifies as a “thriller” but it did have the classic mystery elements going for it.


Club Dumas was not a favorite.  I just could not get into this story or the characters.  It may have been Reverte burnout (can that be a thing? Please let it be a thing!).  I may try and re-read it again once I’ve filled my brain with lighter fare.

June Reads

This was one of the weirdest reading months I’ve had in a very, very long time.  I tell everyone my reading tastes are eclectic but, this month was a little too convoluted even for me!  It included reviewing a giant stack of upcoming Catholic non-fiction titles for a local parish (they are updating their parish library and asked me for some guidance) and a string of recently released erotic fiction titles, and the epic historical text of Rome SPQR.  Since it was a pretty extensive list this month, I’m not going to list them all but if you are interested in some recc’s in either of those genres, I’m your girl!


As for SPQR: A History of Rome by Mary Beard,  this made me feel like I had retreated back to college history.  It was intriguing and the narrative feel made the history jump off the page, but there is no denying the weight of this volume.  It’s not light reading, it’s not for entertainment…it’s for educational purposes whether they be scholarly or a personal hobby.  It took me a few chapters to understand the format (history is given then dissected by what is popular belief and what is fact versus fiction), but once I had that down I was able to finish the book without too many head shakes.  The text is sprinkled liberally with diagrams, drawings and art work to support the research which was helpful and upped the “textbook” feel of the title.  So…recommended for scholars, people with a STRONG interest in Roman history, or those who need it for their own book research 😀  


May Reads

May in library land means getting ready for summer reading so my reading pile gets a bit neglected.  This month, I’m concentrating on a single series that I’ve been wanting to read for ages.



The Arcadia Series by Kai Meyer.  This is one of those little known gems of a series that you stumble across.  Originally published in German in 2011, it was translated to English by HarperCollins in 2014.  The covers (let’s admit it!) are freaking goregous and these fly off our library shelves.  We just can’t keep them in at all.  The story itself blends lots of genres including fantasy, crime and historical.  Note that is a YA title but will appeal to the upper age range of that group.  

April Reads

A little bit of this and a little bit of that – my reading list for this month is pretty widespread.  While this isn’t a complete list (I read way, way too much to tell you about all of them!) here are the highlights for April:


Winds of War by Herman Wouk.  Published in 1971, this American classic is perhaps better known for its sequel War and Remembrance.  I decided to dip my toes into Wouk’s world with this title and wasn’t disappointed.  I am a fast reader but this is a long, slog of a book.  That makes it sound bad (which it isn’t) but it is full of family drama, war drama, politics and intrigue.  I found that I really had to be in the right mindset to tackle this and kept putting it down for lighter fare.  Recommended to lovers of classic literature and war epics but do make sure you have the time to spare before beginning it!  (ISBN 13:  978-0316952668)

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi.  So, everyone who picks this up seems to love this title.  I admit the cover is stellar and the writing flows with almost a fairytale like quality but I just could not get into this title.  I really felt that there was so much imagery that I never really got to relate to the main character Maya.  A bit like when a fantasy novel spends so much time world building that you never actually get to the characters themselves.  Beautiful writing but a little slow moving for my tastes.  (ISBN 13: 978-1250085474)

When Books Went to War: The Stories that Helped Us Win World War II by Molly Manning.  This is one of those books that only true book history lovers will probably enjoy.  This title gives the history of the tiny, odd shaped paperbacks that were created especially for military service members.  Known as Armed Services Editions, these little oddities were reprints of popular and classic titles that soldiers could fit in their uniform pockets easily.  Manning gives a well researched history of the publications, including many of the controversies that developed over the chosen titles.  Excellent book with limited audience appeal.  (ISBN 13: 978-0544570405)

Hades by Candice Fox.  Unfortunately, I put this one down to work on some other commitments and haven’t got a chance to pick it back up.

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