This is the new, improved version of the View From My Books blog, written by Rita H.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

About The StoryGraph- A Goodreads Replacement?

 I was doing some random book site skimming, hopping from one to the other so I  don't even remember where I saw a comment on a site about TheStoryGraph, but since I'm not that happy with the new Goodreads, I was ready for a switch. I do order my e-books from Amazon, I belong to Kindle Unlimited, and my husband and I are Prime subscribers for the shows and the delivery ease. However, it feels like Amazon is taking over the world, lol, and the new GR pages are so busy with colors and pictures and ads on 3 sides that it's a bit overwhelming for me. I just want to get in, then get out, when I visit it. I no longer do the networking "stuff" there, so it has lessened in its importance for me.

Remember, I am not a paid blogger or influencer, just a  satisfied customer, who wants to share something new to me.

I joined the beta group which anyone can join and after filling out a few screens of a personalization quiz I was ready to go.  The beauty of this site is its simplicity. I was not on GR for the give-and-take of the community nor the GR book clubs. If these are your most important reasons for belonging to GR then this isn't the site for you...yet. I use GR nowadays for copying the book covers for my blog, maybe sharing the blurbs, and for keeping track of the books I've read so far*. With The StoryGraph, you can even give 1/4 stars, 1/2 stars, and 3/4 stars for those of you who can't decide whether to grade up or down. Besides the optional star rating, it allows you to choose what emotions you like to feel when searching for a book: slow tor fast pacing, character development, plot-heavy, intense, mysterious, etc. You also have the option to leave all those personal tags on your finished book as well.  

They do offer recommendation suggestions, and ironically they included quite a few books I have already read, because my GR lists were only restarted Jan. 2019, so any titles I read before that I just add when I see it mentioned. And that's another helpful ability. I clicked on a link to transfer GR lists and it took maybe 1-2 minutes. Of course I only have a few hundred titles listed in GR's Read & Want to Read sections, but still...  it's efficient so far. Only thing that GR would surpass in, at least for now, is its enormous database. SG asks folks to send a form to them if you want to add a book, which I haven't done yet.

If anything I've told you about this site interests you, click the link I left up on top and explore. I'm going to stick with it, but that's just me. It checks the boxes I want from a book community site. Or it could be used in addition to GR. A few days ago GR kept telling me that the site was full, and to check back later.

* I use a notebook to handwrite my already-read titles. This I just started last year. But I also like to keep an online list so I can see the covers and get a good feel for them after the fact.

 If you want to add anything here, your thoughts on this or any similar topic, I'd like to hear from you!


Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Thoughts on The Nothing Man

 The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard

currently $3.99 for Kindle e-book as of 9/15-but check first!

Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published August 18th 2020 by Blackstone Publishing


The Nothing Man is the first book I've read by the Irish author Catherine Ryan Howard, but I am very impressed with her style and will look forward to picking up another by her sometime! I was waiting to read this particular one for awhile now and when I saw it was only $3.99 on Amazon I bought it asap. 

As much as I say I'm shying away from psychological suspense (and please, no more GIRL titles, we're women) this one caught my attention and I'm glad it did. It won't work for every suspense reader, but I liked how the author tied together the main threads of the cat-and-mouse chase, slowly, slowly, and bam! Creative writing and great ending! I had a similar experience with Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier. I didn't think I could handle a dark tale such as that but I ended up loving it. Unfortunately I started another by the author but it was too much for me. Goes to show we shouldn't generalize an author's body of work because each title needs to be judged separately.

The blurb for this book and the few reviews I allowed myself to read first, made me think of the true crime story I'll Be Gone In The Dark by Michelle McNamara, one of my favorite books from last year. I was spot-on because the author (and this isn't a spoiler, just an observation) credits the late Ms. McNamara with the idea for her own book. I appreciate her honesty. She took an idea and ran with it, and did a great job. 

This one is creepy, suspenseful, addictive and yes, rather dark-- the plot revolves around violent crimes-- but they are for the most part talked about but occurred off-scene. I'm trying to determine why some psychological suspense is too much for me and why ones like this work. I think, guessing here, because the reader is made to feel like maybe the "bad guy" will be caught, it's just a matter of time. Some other books are too depressing and there seems like no way out.  

I recommend this one to mystery/suspense/thriller/crime fiction/true crime readers who are okay with a dark plot and realistic talk of murder.

Trigger warnings: for those who don't want to be surprised by realistic violence and discussions of murder 

my final thought: excellent (for me)

Monday, September 14, 2020

Feeling Nostalgic for Chapter Books From My Past


 While I state that I'm not much of a re-reader, and I don't prefer children's books, I still get a rush over seeing a book from my childhood pop up. I was at my local Goodwill thrift shop, which has the best selection in books of any thrift I've gone to, and they had a few books/vinyl/DVDs  that were chosen by the employees to go on a special shelf to highlight them. Lo and behold, a blast from my past... the first in the original Nancy Drew series-- The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene. The price sticker is still on the back ($1.25) and the marked-down sticker from the original sale, .87 cents! Of course this was the 1959 edition so that must have been an average price for a hardback in that year. I paid $6.00 today, but it is in almost new lightly-used condition, no yellowing or torn pages.

this is my "new find"

From my research, Nancy Drew books were published and/or updated from 1930-2020! Here is some alternate cover art, too.

This last one, above, I remember distinctly because when my Mom couldn't find a certain title in the series order she would go to a used book shop and the covers were blue like above. Also my brothers read the Hardy Boys and I think they had drab covers like this too, or maybe brown?

 I was born in 1958 so the first cover above possibly could be the same edition I would've read at age 9 or so. I really don't remember what age I read this one (what is the average age for an advanced reader to read these long chapter books? I can't remember and my Mom is no longer with us) but my mother would buy them in a supermarket of all places, which displayed children's books on metal carousels by the entrance and exit * see explanation below.

 Other series that she would  auto-buy for me were Trixie Belden, The Tuckers, and one similar to Trixie but I can't remember the series (she lived on or visited a horse ranch, does anyone remember a series like that from the '50s-'60s )?? She also signed me up for a hard cover book each month in the mail of The Happy Hollisters series until I had them all. She would actually scold me for reading the books so fast. She wanted the gift to last awhile! 

My parents didn't read when I was younger "because they were busy" but when they retired they were never without a book. I credit my Mom for allowing me to binge on happy family and young girl detective series, and that is basically what I read now: mysteries, procedurals, and small-town family dramas. She also walked me over to our public library which was only 3 long blocks from our house in the city, when I was between kindergarten and pre-teen age to get my own library card. I would bring a stack of chapter books up to the librarian's desk and she would tell me that I was taking out too many books and I wouldn't be able to read so many, so leave some behind. There was no definite book limit there. My mother went back up with me and told the librarian that I definitely *could* read an armload of chapter books within the 4 weeks they gave us. Sad that now libraries have 2-3 week restriction but at least you can renew. There were no computers to renew books back in the '60s :) :) :)

* Okay youngsters, listen up! Supermarkets used to be awesome for families like mine who used to shop on the "Avenue" at a butcher, a produce grocer, a bakery, a deli, etc. I never saw a supermarket until maybe age 6 (?) The array of different products you could buy would boggle the mind, and I always asked to accompany my parents on this trip. We waited until the weekend so my father could go and help with pushing the heavy cart and loading up the station wagon. I usually asked for a box of Good Humor ice cream pops and usually got them for "helping them shop".