BITB – Best of 2016

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Another trip around the sun and another few million pages read by those of us at Book in the Bag. [Note: I didn’t actually count pages, but it stands to reason, since we read so much.]

I know that 2016 was a rocky year for BITB – every blogger here either moved or had major health issues, among other things – but there were ups along the way, including lots of good books.  As always, our tastes varied, and this list represents decades of writing in multiple genres, fiction and non. In short, the books on this list are as varied as the bloggers reading them.

In order to make this list, the book had to receive a 5/5 review from one blogger and appear on this website. Not all of us may agree. (In fact, we usually don’t.)

Books appear in no particular order.

  • The Body Lovers – Mickey Spillane
  • Mildred Pierced – Stuart M. Kaminsky
  • Seventh Night – Iscah
  • Vengeance is Mine – Mickey Spillane
  • Dawn of Wonder – Jonathan Renshaw
  • The Bat Strikes Again and Again – Johnston McCulley
  • Bogart ’48 – John Stanley & Kenn Davis
  • Fantasy Encyclopedia: A Guide To Fabulous Beasts and Magical Beings, From Elves and Dragons to Vampires and Wizards – Judy Allen
  • Shadow of a Broken Man – George C Chesbro
  • 84, Charing Cross Road – Helene Hanff
  • Horton Halfpott -or- The Fiendish Mystery of Smudgepott Manor -or- The Loosening of M’lady Luggertuck’s Corset – Tom Angleburger
  • Hungry Planet – What the World Eats – Peter Menzel & Faith D’Aluisio
  • The Monster at the End of This Book – Jon Stone
  • Llama Llama Red Pajama – Anna Dewdney
  • Welcome to the Symphony – Carolyn Sloane
  • The Complete Casebook of Cardigan vol 1 – Frederick Nebel
  • The Complete Casebook of Sherlock Holmes: The Ectoplasmic Man – Daniel Stashower

 

 

Also, a note.  We love doing Writer Wednesday features.  If you’re an author who would like to be featured, comment on our Noteworthy page with your email address and I will reply as soon as possible. (Not all authors meet our criteria, but most do)  😀

12/13  CHECK

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A note about Writer Wednesday (and the blog)

Hey, everyone!  I know we haven’t done a lot of Writer Wednesday lately.

That’s about to change.  For starters, I’m changing the questions.  You might still see an interview or two pop up with the old set, but for the most part, we’re moving on to a combination profile and guest post.  It’s easier on the authors who want to be a part of the blog, and it gives us the opportunity to re-visit some authors that we talked to a couple years ago.

 

I also want to thank everyone who has stayed loyal to this blog.  I know that life gets in the way a lot, and blogs are the first things to suffer around work and relationships and other commitments – both for the bloggers and the readers.  I’m seriously grateful that you’ve stuck around.  We’re working to get back on track.

 

Thank you!

Bonus Post – Kingdom of Vosh Tour

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Okay, so…  Apparently I was supposed to review a book for a tour stop, and when they checked a couple days ago I realized that I never received the book.  Um.  So I had to come up with something, and I decided to stay in the spirit of both the holidays and this blog.  “Let him do a book review, I thought.  So I decided to ask the author one simple question.

What is your favorite holiday story?

I’ll admit that his answer wasn’t exactly what I was expecting (and, like all authors, he’s a bit long winded), but here ya go:

Picture for yourself a young man and woman, engaged but not yet fully committed and married. The young woman finds out that she is pregnant, which in itself is peculiar because the two have not come together in that fashion and she swears to him that she has known no other.  He doesn’t believe her though.  What fool does she take him for? He looks upon her with distrustful eyes now.  He loves her but his heart is broken and full of doubts.  He has decided to end the engagement but to do so secretly, without shaming her name and family.  A gentleman’s maneuver but it pains him deeply.

One night, while alone and in bed, he dreams of a Titan who comes to speak with him over the girl.  “She is special, and the child she carries will be the future King!  Do not leave her.  She has been faithful to you.  Give the child this name, a name above all others, for he will save many.”  The Titan tells him.  The young man awakens, startled over the words but believing the vision to be real he is relieved in his heart that she was true to him.

The man and woman soon leave thereafter, and head south to pay their dues to the current King.  The woman is ready to give birth now, but the city is full of travelers so there are no more rooms available.  In a last effort of desperation they ask a farmer passing by who tells them they can use his stable with the animals for the night.

Elsewhere that evening, not far from where the young girl travails, a group of shepherds minding their sheep are suddenly startled from the skies above.  Out of the cool night sky bursts forth an army of Titans!  Glorious light shown all around them, filling the air with brilliant wonder!  Horns and trumpets sounded their arrival and then a hush fell over them as one began to speak.

“Behold!  Your King has come!  May glory be to his wonderful name!  You will find him close by in a manger.  May peace and goodness come to all men.”

The host of Titans then vanished into the night, leaving the shepherds who witnessed the event speechless for a moment.  “We… we must go and find this King!”  One of them said.  They all agreed and quickly left their flock as they searched the town for the child.  A few found the newly born boy exactly where the Titans said. They then left and found the others and gathered them together at the stable.  Silently, as a cool breeze swept in through the thin, twisted boarding, they looked upon the young man named Joseph, his wife Mary, and the newly born King, the savior of the world….Jesus.

Now the above story sounds fantastical.  A virgin birth, an army of Titans (Angels), the Savior of the world, but this is no fantasy story.  This is of course the story of Christmas and what hundreds of millions if not billions of people are about to celebrate.  It is the reason for the season.  But perhaps you are skeptical.  Perhaps you do look on this as some made up fairy tale, passed down through the generations and squirreled away in some crusty old Bible.  I can’t convince you in a blog what to believe for yourself.  You are your own person and can make up your own dang mind.  You should be skeptical, about everything!

Through the spectacle, though, one shouldn’t miss the important message and it is from the words of the Angel that appears before the shepherds.  It is why this is my favorite holiday story.  It’s found in Luke 2:10-14 if you dare to look it up.  You won’t find words of hatred or malice.  They are not words of judgment or condemnation.   The message is peace and joy to all people.  The birth of Jesus is pronounced as a joyful occasion for the world, a message of love.

This time of year is not about tackling people over saving thirty bucks for a toaster oven.  It’s about helping those in need, showing the love to others that was shown to you and laying down a part of yourself as your gift at their feet.

You are a wonderment, a gift to behold and specially created by God above.  Those around you are equally special, equally crafted.  Don’t see them for the color of their skin or what fancy clothes they wear or what nation they are from. We are all children of God and should be treated as such.

I encourage you to find someone in need, someone lonely or hurting or troubled, and take a moment to be a blessing to their lives.  I hope you have a blessed Christmas and holiday this year and go read something good!

Jason C. Conley
Writer & artist for The Kingdom of Vosh: The Chained Princess

My Apologies

It has been several months since I have made a post on the blog here and I feel it is only right that I make an apology for this.  I feel that it is particularly important that I apologize to all of the authors whom I have told I would read their books and do a review.  I have not forgotten you!  I said I would review your books and I will!  I have them sitting with me right now even.  It is an ever long list and it will take me some time to get through them.  I am sorry for the wait.

Anyway, now that I’ve made my apology I feel as if I should give you a reason why there was a sudden vanish on my part.  To be honest life got the better of me.  My main job suddenly cut hours on me and I was forced to take on a second job.  This second job I swear was the death of me as it was a high activity job and I found myself trying to juggle two jobs one being a high energy job and work on completing my masters degree.  It was all I could do to find time just to do laundry let alone read a book.  I was running beyond ragged.

Fortunately, I am no longer working at either job now but life is still crazy as I have found a new job that I am loving but adjusting to still and now dealing with the ever loved month of Nanowrimo.  (I work as a municipal liaison for my region which means Nano is all the busier for me).  Fortunately November is coming to an end and my work for Nano Wrimo is coming to an end as is my academics and my job is a desk job affording me some occasional time here and there to read while at work.

I hope to get back to posting regular reviews by no later than the end of the year.  I actually have two books that I need to write reviews up for that I’ll be posting before the end of the year.  Sadly they aren’t books that were requested of me but I needed to take a small break from books that I’m asked to read and do something for myself so while I’m reading what was requested of me please don’t be surprised if you see some other books reviewed in the mix.  If you have any questions pertaining to when I think I’ll have your book reviewed by please feel free to ask and I’ll try to get you a best guess but I really don’t know what my schedule in the future holds.

Thanks for understanding! I am excited to be back to blogging once again!  I’ll see you on my regular day of Friday with a new review!

Welcome To Book In The Bag

Over the coming weeks we are preparing to launch our new website. We hope to bring you a range of great reviews of the books that we have been reading in cafes, on trains, and generally any place that we can slip out the books that travel in our bags.

In the interim, feel free to post some book suggestions in the comments. Something that you always meant to read, but never got around to? An obscure little book you loved and suspect we might too? A not so obscure book that you want our opinion on?

Just please, if you care about us, don’t ask us to read a certain book for bored housewives that has been doing the rounds lately. We might not always stick to decency, but that one taught us all that we still have some taste.

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