Bob Gendron

This entry in the 33⅓ series covers The Afghan Whigs estimable 1993 release Gentlemen.
After brief but well constructed introduction to the band members it seemed to me that it became rather by-the-numbers when talking about the recording of the record. The section talking about the individual songs held nothing new and was where the author's personal opinions began to overwhelm the factual content.
As for the part of the book dealing with the book's reception after release and it's lack of sales is chock full of biases about the music industry (Gendron seems to really not get why a difficult to classify album about messed up sexual relationships might not have sold in the early 90s) and is less than even handed when talking about the fallout.
It was worth borrowing from the library. I'd be rather disappointed if I'd paid money for it.

Rating: B



Fear of Music

Garry Mulholland

The follow up to This is Uncool is Mulholland's choice of the greatest albums since Disco and Punk (the original was just singles).
This book is very similar in style to This is Uncool. It's tone is much angrier and (to me as someone who was on message boards during the poptimism/rockism thing) it's a more political than personal in some choices this time around.
I've docked it point for the off tangent ranting in some entries and for the rather bleak view takes of even the best music in the final few choices.
It's a cheap and interesting read for any pop music nerd in your life.

Rating: B


2018 Books

  1. The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts by Annie Darling, rated B
  2. Lost and Found Sisters by Jill Shalvis, rated B+
  3. Welcome To Temptation by Jennifer Crusie, rated B+
  4. Faking It by Jennifer Crusie, rated B
  5. Sunset In Central Park by Sarah Morgan, rated B
  6. Crazy In Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop by Annie Darling, rated B
  7. Bury The Hatchet by Catherine Gayle, rated C
  8. Holiday in the Hamptons by Sarah Morgan, rated B
  9. New York, Actually by Sarah Morgan, rated B
  10. Moonlight Over Manhattan by Sarah Morgan, rated B
  11. Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein, rated A-
  12. Head On by John Scalzi, rated B+
  13. Just For Show by Jae, rated B
  14. Rainy Day Friends by Jill Shalvis, rated B+
  15. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne, rated B-
  16. How To Be Dead by Dave Turner, rated B
  17. The Good Luck Sister by Jill Shalvis, rated B-
  18. Always on My Mind by Jill Shalvis, rated C+
  19. Hold Me by Courtney Milan, rated B-
  20. The Day of the Doctor by Steven Moffat, rated A-
  21. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green, rated A
  22. To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han, rated B
  23. This Is Uncool by Garry Mulholland, rated B+
  24. Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson, rated B
  25. Sunshine at the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson, rated B
  26. Coming Home to the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson, rated B
  27. Married By Morning by Lisa Kleypas, rated C+
  28. A Gift From The Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson, rated B-
  29. Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings, rated C+
  30. Queen Of Sorcery by David Eddings, rated C+
  31. Magician's Gambit by David Eddings, rated C+
  32. Castle Of Wizardry by David Eddings, rated C+
  33. Enchanter's End Game by David Eddings, rated C+



The Belgariad

David Eddings

pawn of prophecyThis five volume series is an expertly and cynically constructed slice of epic fantasy.
Nearly every clich├ęd trope of the genre is trotted at one point or another but the sheer pace of storytelling stops it from becoming boring.
I've read this series many times but even after now I find myself enjoying some of the characters and rooting for the (inevitable) happy ending.
It's outdated, generic as all hell but it's one of my comfort reads.
If you're looking for a quick, easy-to-read fantasy fix then this is an acceptable option.

Rating: C+



A Gift From the Comfort Food Cafe

Debbie Johnson

Single mum Katie has slowly been putting her life back together in the little Cornish village of Budbury. Her past littered with broken and dysfunctional relationships and when a possible new love interest arrives on the scene she doesn't know how to react. The fifth book in the Comfort Cafe series isn't quite up to the standards of the earlier books.

Rating: B-



Married By Morning

Lisa Kleypas

A historical romance where a governess with a secret pass becomes involved with charges' older brother.
The two leads are enjoyable but the whole story is incredibly cliched and it took a bit of motivation to finish the whole story once the 'scandal' was revealed to be nothing the heroine could reasonably be blamed for.

Rating: C+



Coming Home to the Comfort Food Cafe

Debbie Johnson

The third Comfort Cafe book tells the story of Zoe. Zoe has taken on the responsibility for her best friend's teenage daughter Martha after the friend dies from cancer.
Escaping to Budbury to distance her charge from the trouble she's getting into at home things take an unexpected turn when the kid's Australian father turns up to help.
Decent story and the extended cast really works.

Rating: B



Sunshine at the Comfort Food Cafe

Debbie Johnson

The fourth Comfort Cafe book tells the story of Willow. A pink-haired young woman who is entirely devoted to the care of her Mother Lynnie who suffers from Dementia. With a little help from the community she's able to work enough to keep her head above water. Her little cleaning business brings her to an old residential home where she meets the millionaire geek, Tom, who has bought the place.
This is an enjoyable contemporary romance with a great cast of recurring characters

Rating: B



Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe

Debbie Johnson

This is an enjoyable contemporary romance. Part of a series centred on a village cafe in Dorset.
In this one we follow the perspective of Becca. She's a graphic designer from Manchester and she comes to Bunbury to visit her sister for Christmas.
Notoriously immune to the charms of the festive season She finds herself falling for the charms of the villagers and in particular for the handsome Irishman Sam.
I liked that Becca was less than thrilled by Christmas and that she could be spiky and difficult with people. All too many Christmas romances (both novels and films) have protagonists filled with starry-eyed joy at the prospect of all things Christmas.
I particularly liked that the characters actually talked to each other about their feelings (a pet peeve of mine is the dumb misunderstanding) but on the other hand some of the plot points were clunking and obvious.

Rating: B



This Is Uncool

Garry Mulholland

In this collection of reviews Mulholland picks the best singles from Punk to the Milennium.
Of course this is a highly subjective thing but writes persuadingly on the worth of Pop in general and specifically on critically derided musical genres like Disco.
I vehemently disagreed with some of his opinions (mainly about your more earnest 80's rock acts) but learned enough to want to listen to a whole lot of music that I'd never even thought of checking out before.
It's super cheap right now second hand but for the sake of your wrists don't buy the hardback like I did!
If it matters I bought this because it came highly recommended by Kieron Gillen.

Rating: B+