17 January 2018

Wordless Wednesday 481

Winter 2018


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15 January 2018

Stacked-Up Book Thoughts: A Good Book and a Good Show

A Good Book and a Good Show: Beth Fish ReadsArgh! This is pretty much my slowest reading week ever. I didn't have a lot of time for pleasure reading because my editing work ramped up as my clients returned to their offices after the holiday break.

In addition, instead of reading after dinner, we've been working on a jigsaw puzzle and playing a lot of rummy. Both are fun and take our minds off the news of the world.

I'm still reading The Hazel Wood, a fairy tale / contemporary fantasy, and The Six, about the Mitford sisters.

The Burning Page by Genevieve CogmanI finished my reread (via audiobook) of The Burning Page by Genevieve Cogman. I've come to appreciate Susan Duerden's performance of this series. I think because I read the books first, I needed to get used to Duerden's style and characterizations, which didn't match what was in my head. Now, however, I'm thinking that I'll go ahead and listen to the newest entry, The Lost Plot, instead of reading it in print. In case you missed any of my earlier reviews, this is an adult speculative fiction series that includes a fresh take on fae and dragons and involves a powerful library, alternate worlds, time bending, a little steampunk, lots of action, and mystery. The books are published by Roc (an imprint of Penguin Random House) and the audiobooks are from Audible Studios.

Godless (Netflix)On television, we watched the Netflix original Godless. I highly recommend this dark miniseries set mostly in the mining town of La Belle, New Mexico in the 1880s. The town is run by a group of bad-ass women who took charge after the men died in a major mine accident. The story revolves around Frank Griffin (played by Jeff Daniels), the ultimate bad guy in a generally lawless land, and mystery man Roy Goode (Jack O'Connell), who shows up one night on a ranch outside of town, wounded and alone. The plot eventually connects the townswomen, Griffin, Goode, and a few lawmen. The series includes quite a bit of violence, a little romance, a twist or two, good character development and a satisfying ending. It's a complete story in seven episodes and feels almost like a novel. The acting and filming are great, and you'll recognize many of the actors (Michelle Dockery, Tantoo Cardinal, Sam Waterston). Don't miss this one (if you can handle the blood and guts). Here's the trailer (warning--adult language):

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13 January 2018

Weekend Cooking: Rotten (Documentary)

Review: Rotten (Netflix original)If you eat food, here in America or around the world, you should watch the new Netflix documentary series Rotten, which takes a hard, cold look at the food industry. The films examine more than your usual topics of pesticides, disease, and cleanliness--they also explore fraud, theft, global contamination, scams, the rise of allergies, and more.

The six documentaries in season 1 cover honey, allergies (peanuts), garlic, poultry, dairy, and fish. The films aren't for the faint of heart. You may find hard to trust any food source besides a local farmer . . . if you can find one. I watched the first two episodes of Rotten and can already recommend that you watch too.

Episode 1, "Lawyers, Guns & Honey," starts out explaining how bees make honey and then turns to the business of honey production and packaging. The primary focus of the documentary is on one of the largest food frauds in U.S. history, which involved tampered honey from China, which entered the country via a global network of shippers and sellers, which was meant to hide the honey's origins. I had no idea there was such a thing as bee hive theft (there is) and wasn't aware of the effect almond farms have had on beekeeping and on bee health. The film also mentions colony collapse and highlights the problems faced by family-run honey producers and packagers.

The second episode, "The Peanut Problem," examines the rise of food allergies in the last two decades. Because a peanut allergy is the most common food allergy, the documentary is focused on it. You may think this is a U.S. problem, but allergies are on the rise worldwide. The impact is felt at home and especially at restaurants. Although many restaurants do their utmost to protect their customers, some either don't care or don't understand the risks. No one really knows what has triggered the rise in allergies: is it antibiotics, our changing gut flora, the way we grow food, or something else? The good news is that researchers believe there will be a cure for food allergies in the near future.

Review: Rotten (Netflix original)

Through the films we meet farmers, restaurant owners, scientists, beekeepers, federal investigators, and other individuals who have something to contribute to the topic at hand. The issues are examined from a variety of angles, such as health, the environment, economics, and the effect on consumers. The cinematography may not be Hollywood glamorous--the filmmakers get down to business--but the documentaries are nicely edited and interesting to watch. The point of Rotten is to offer information, though there is an underlying bias against mega-agribusiness.

I plan to watch the other documentaries (each is about an hour long and the series is a Netflix original), even if it increases my already high concern about our food supply. Not every moment is full of startling facts, but I'd be surprised if you watched Rotten and didn't learn something. Here's the series trailer:


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Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page.

NOTE: Mr. Linky sometimes is mean and will give you an error message. He's usually wrong and your link went through just fine the first time. Grrrr.
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12 January 2018

8 New Speculative Fiction Books for Your Wish List

It's just two weeks into the new year, and my reading list is already overflowing. As you know, I enjoy books from many genres, but I will always have a soft spot for speculative fiction, especially fantasy. January is bursting with so many great books for those of us who like to venture into different worlds that I had a hard time narrowing down my choices for today's post. Featured here are the 8 books at the top of my speculative fiction reading list this month. Which titles have you read? Which January releases have I missed?

  • 8 speculative fiction books to read in JanuaryBetween the Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking (Wednesday Books; Jan 2): I really like Hocking’s writing and am looking forward to this first in a young adult fantasy duology (yay! no long series), especially because it features Valkyries. The plot centers on a conflict between a mother and daughter and promises good action, Norse mythology, and young love.
  • The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert (Flatiron, Jan 30): You won’t want to miss this young adult contemporary fantasy: It deserves all its prepub hype and starred reviews. The story involves three generations of women, a book of fairy tales with a cult following, and dark magic. This is not your sugar-coated princess kind of tale, but it is bewitching.
  • Shadow Weaver by MarcyKate Connolly (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, Jan 2): Middle grade readers will love this story about Emmeline, a girl who can control and befriend shadows. When her parents decide to “cure” her of magical abilities, Emmeline is caught up in a dangerous game of survival that tests her and her shadow's friendship and loyalties.
  • The Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnson (Scribner, Jan 2): Looking for an adult dystopian that may seem scarily possible? Johnson's novel is about a woman trying to survive in a frozen, post-nuclear world. The story, set in Canada, has been described as having elements of outdoor adventure, thriller, and coming-of-age.
  • 8 speculative fiction books to read in JanuaryChainbreaker by Tara Sim (Sky Pony Press, Jan 2): This second entry in the steampunk Timekeeper series is set in Victorian (British-occupied) India and stars a gay clock mechanic. Sim’s stories are more than mashups of diversity themes; the fast-paced adventures feature gods, magic, and mythology; clockworks; and time bending, all set on a foundation of facts tweaked into an alternate world.
  • Reign the Earth by A. C. Gaughen (Bloomsbury, Jan 30): A trusted publicist told me about this fantasy in which a young woman agrees to marry the enemy king and suppress her magic in return for the safety of her people. After her brother turns rebel and her powers call to her, she must weigh the costs of taking control of her own future.
  • Sinless by Sarah Tarkoff (Harper Voyager, Jan 9): What if your sinfulness were made manifest for all to see? In Tarkoff’s dystopian world, each wrong act results in physical disfigurement, but who decides what is good and what is evil? Our hero, the preacher’s daughter, begins to notice the gray areas, making her question everything she’s been taught as true and threatening the very fabric of her world.
  • The Beginning Woods by Malcolm McNeill (Sky Pony Press, Jan 9): Although geared to a middle grade audience, this story of a boy found abandoned in bookshop should have wide appeal. Full of magic, dreams, mysterious disappearances, and a quest to a dangerous place, the novel puts a fresh twist on familiar fantasy elements and introduces you to Max, who will win your heart.

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10 January 2018

Wordless Wednesday 480

I See (Cat) Faces, 2018


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All content and photos (except where noted) copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads 2008-2018. All rights reserved.

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