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Monday News: National Book Award Finalists, Jim Hines on Kathleen Hale, Margo Howard v. Vine, and Laurie Penny on the “ramification of misogyny”

Monday News: National Book Award Finalists, Jim Hines on Kathleen Hale,...

Bad reviews are also a thing. Hating someone’s book is not bullying. Sharing your opinion, suggesting others stay away from a book or an author, is not bullying. It might cost you some sales, and that sucks, but it’s not bullying, nor is it an organized campaign to destroy someone’s career.

Hale’s account does not convince me that she was a victim of online bullying. But even if she was, there comes a point where she crossed a line from victim to perpetrator. She admits to stalking Blythe online. She then began stalking her in real life. She showed up at Blythe’s home, called her on the phone. –Jim Hines

Well, they were “Vine Voices” I found out. Amazon explains: “Amazon Vine invites the most trusted reviewers on Amazon to post opinions about new and pre-release items to help their fellow customers make informed purchase decisions.” Well, swell. A fellow customer would have read those pre-publication “reviews” and thought the book was dreckalthough some people, I have to hope, would have spotted these attacks for what they were: ad hominem attacks. God and Bezos only know how many “trusted reviewers” there are. In any case, these people are given freebies … cold cream, sneakers, pots and pans, and … books! I submit to you that free stuff does not a book reviewer make. One could fairly think of Vine membership as offering an all-you-can-eat buffet of things. –New Republic

Games and pickup artistry gave a formal structure to that mindset for this generation, but it’s older than that. The gamification of misogyny predates the internet, but right now, in this world full of angry, broken, lost young men convinced that women have robbed them of some fundamental win in life, it’s rampant.

The trouble is that treating other human beings like faceless opponents doesn’t work in the real world.

Gender isn’t a game you can play and win by brutalising and harassing and shaming and hurting the other ‘side.’ Ultimately, there is no other side. Gender oppression is structural. Everybody loses, in the long term, because everybody has to live in a culture where it’s normal to hound women out of their homes for daring to demand fairer treatment, normal to shame girls and queer people into silence for suggesting that there might be other interesting stories to tell. There is no way to win this game, except by not playing at all. –Laurie Penny

Daily Deals: Ancient queens, virgin mothers, and the search for truth

Daily Deals: Ancient queens, virgin mothers, and the search for truth

Exley by Brock ClarkeExley by Brock Clarke. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

For young Miller Le Ray, life has become a search. A search for his dad, who may or may not have joined the army and gone to Iraq. A search for a notorious (and, unfortunately, deceased) writer, Frederick Exley, author of the “fictional memoir” A Fan’s Notes, who may hold the key to bringing Miller’s father back. But most of all, his is a search for truth. As Miller says, “Sometimes you have to tell the truth about some of the stuff you’ve done so that people will believe you when you tell them the truth about other stuff you haven’t done.”

In Exley as in his previous bestselling novel, An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England, Brock Clarke takes his reader into a world that is both familiar and disorienting, thought-provoking and thoroughly entertaining. Told by Miller and Dr. Pahnee, both unreliable narrators, it becomes an exploration of the difference between what we believe to be real and what is in fact real.

Great, unpredictable characters but a narrative that loses its way. One reviewer said all the women were really shallowly and negatively represented in the story.

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Someone Else's Love Story by Joshilyn JacksonSomeone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

For single mom Shandi Pierce, life is a juggling act. She’s finishing college, raising precocious three-year-old Natty, and keeping the peace between her eternally warring, long-divorced parents.Then she gets caught in the middle of a stickup at a gas station and falls instantly in love with William Ashe, when he steps between the armed robber and her son.

Shandi doesn’t know that William’s act wasn’t about bravery. When he looked down the barrel of the robber’s gun he believed it was destiny: it’s been exactly one year since a tragic act of physics shattered his universe. But William doesn’t define destiny the way other people do—to him destiny is about choice.

Now William and Shandi are about to meet their so-called destinies head-on, making choices that will reveal unexpected truths about love, life, and the world they think they know.

The story is told in a lot of flashbacks and it isn’t clear to the reader whose love story is being told. It’s not necessarily Shandi and William, the two main narrators, but per the reviews it is about falling in love and sacrifice.

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Live For You: Boys of the South  by Marquita ValentineLive For You by Marquita Valentine. $ .99

From the Jacket Copy:

**Mature New Adult/Adult novel – suited for ages 17+**

On the surface, twenty-two year old Cole Morgan is exactly what any girl would be proud to take home to meet her parents: He’s charming, intensely handsome and goal-oriented…Only he has some secrets of his own, which include provoking bar fights and a former drug-addict of a mother slowly wasting away in a medical facility.

At barely twenty, Violet Lynn is Country Music’s hottest star, until one night of partying gets out of control. Violet ends up in jail and on TMZ. Suddenly, she’s the girl least likely to be invited anywhere. Sick of the drama and keeping secrets, she runs away from the prying eyes of the paparazzi to her grandmother’s home in Forrestville, North Carolina.

A chance meeting knocks Cole off his feet, but he doesn’t recognize Violet for who she is. In fact no one does and Violet plans to keep it that way.

Circumstances, however annoying,keep throwing Violet and Cole together. Unable to stop themselves they give into the inevitable.

But when Nashville is ready to forgive and forget, Violet is forced to choose between Cole and claiming her spot as the new and improved Princess of Country Music.

Will Violet and Cole have the courage to live for their dreams…Or their hearts?

This is the first part of a series of books I think? One of the things that the reviewers did not like was that Violet cuts her hair and then becomes completely unrecognizable to everyone despite being a super famous country music star.

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The Forever Queen: The Lost Kingdom - 1066 by Helen HollickThe Forever Queen by Helen Hollick. $ 2.99.

From the Jacket Copy:

USA Today Bestseller!

What kind of woman becomes the wife of two kings, and the mother of two more?

Saxon England, 1002. Not only is Æthelred a failure as King, but his young bride, Emma of Normandy, soon discovers he is even worse as a husband. When the Danish Vikings, led by Swein Forkbeard and his son, Cnut, cause a maelstrom of chaos, Emma, as Queen, must take control if the Kingdom-and her crown-are to be salvaged. Smarter than history remembers, and stronger than the foreign invaders who threaten England’s shores, Emma risks everything on a gamble that could either fulfill her ambitions and dreams or destroy her completely.

Emma, the Queen of Saxon England, comes to life through the exquisite writing of Helen Hollick, who shows in this epic tale how one of the most compelling and vivid heroines in English history stood tall through a turbulent fifty-year reign of proud determination, tragic despair, and triumph over treachery.

PW writes “Hollick does a remarkable job of bringing to life a little known but powerful queen, as well as the milieu and world she inhabited. The scope is vast and the cast is huge, but Hollick remains firmly in control, giving readers an absorbing plot that never lags over the course of a fat, satisfying book.”

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