Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge for September 20, 2023

Each Wednesday, Long and Short Reviews hosts a weekly “blog hop”. For more details on how to participate, please click here.

Today’s topic is: Would you Move to a Mars Settlement? Explain.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on My Fall 2023 To-Read List

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Here are ten of the books I’m looking forward to checking out this autumn. The first two have already been released, but I’ll share release dates for the ones that aren’t out yet.









1. Holly by Stephen King

Why I’m Interested: I try to give everything Mr. King writes a shot.









2. Rez Ball by Byron Graves

Why I’m Interested: I recently reviewed Big Crow for Long and Short Reviews and am curious to make comparisons between that true-life account of a Native American teen who played basketball and this fictional take on a different Native American teen basketball player.










3. Land of Milk and Honey by C. Pam Zhang

Release Date: September 26

Why I’m Interested: With all of the difficult some farmers have been having this year with growing crops, a fictional account of a world too hot to rely on agriculture is intriguing.










4. The Museum of Failures by Thrity Umrigar

Release Date: September 26

Why I’m Interested: While there’s a lot of joy to be found in moving to another country, being an immigrant can also bring all sorts of complications to one’s life. I’m curious to see what this author has to say on the subject.










5. Out There Screaming by Jordan Peele

Release Date: October 3

Why I’m Interested: His films are fun to watch, so here’s hoping a book from him will also be amusing.










6. When Ghosts Call Us Home by Katya de Becerra

Release Date: October 3

Why I’m Interested: Honestly, the cover is what first pulled me in this direction. Isn’t it amazing? Paranormal horror is something I enjoy, too.










7. The Leftover Woman by Jean Kwok

Release Date: October 10

Why I’m Interested: Now that it’s much less common for people who aren’t from China to adopt children from China, I’m curious to see how this topic will be treated in fiction.










8. The Woman in Me by Britney Spears

Release Date: October 24

Why I’m Interested: Is it weird to read an autobiography of someone you weren’t a fan of? Now I wonder what might have been going on behind the scenes in her life to make her behave the way she did. Maybe this will help to explain it.










9. Bookshops & Bonedust by Travis Baldreee

Release Date: November 7

Why I’m Interested: Maybe this will finally convince me to read Legends & Lattes? It’s been on my TBR for ages.










10. Same Bed, Different Dreams by Ed Park

Release Date: November 7

Why I’m Interested: Alternate histories can be such great stories. I hope this is as good as it sounds.

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge for September 13, 2023

Each Wednesday, Long and Short Reviews hosts a weekly “blog hop”. For more details on how to participate, please click here.

Today’s topic is: Favorite Fairy Tale or Legend and why

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Character Relationships

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

I love a good relationship in a novel, especially in a series.  It’s often what draws me back to an unfinished series.  They don’t have to be romantic relationships, either.  Sometimes, the best bonds are between friends.

  1. Harry Bosch and Mickey Haller (Harry Bosch/The Lincoln Lawyer) by Michael Connelly.

Harry and Mickey are half-brothers who only found each other later in life.  The thing that I love about their relationship is that Harry is an LAPD detective and Mickey is a defense lawyer, aka mortal enemies.  However, they learn to appreciate each other and form a strong, brotherly bond, often full of sharp barbs and fun banter.

  1. Geralt of Rivia and Julian Alfred Pankratz, Viscount de Lettenhove, aka Jaskier the Bard (The Witcher by Andrzej Sapkowski).

Their relationship is often a rough one, but even when they want to throw each other into the dragon’s den, they’re still there for each other.  I could include Yennefer of Vengerberg in this as well because she has a similar relationship with Jaskier.

  1. Sam and Amelia Rockwell (Rockwell Return Files by Jason Anspach).

From the very beginning, they have a great relationship.  She adores him, but keeps him in his place.  He loves her, and dotes on her, while respecting her.  This is huge considering the series is set in the 1950’s.

  1. Sloan McPherson and Scott Hughes (Underwater Investigation Unit by Andrew Mayne).

Sloan has a tendency to be a bit reckless and impulsive.  Scott, on the other hand, is former military and a dad, bringing a sense of balance to their partnership.  However, Scott can be a bit crazy, too, when the circumstances warrant it.  Which is probably why he and Sloan work so well together.

  1. Tempe Brennan and Andrew Ryan (Temperance Brennan by Kathy Reichs).

Tempe spends half the year working in Montreal for the police department identifying remains found.  This often leads to her working with her on and off again boyfriend, Detective Andrew Ryan.  Even when they’re not in a relationship, they work well together and always look after each other.  Plus, Ryan tends to be a smart aleck which I love.

  1. Lindsay Boxer and Rich Conklin (Women’s Murder Club by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro).

I could go on for pages about Lindsay’s relationship with Claire, Yuki, and Cindy.  But I think her partnership and friendship with longtime partner Rich goes unnoticed.  They are great together, often coming close to anticipating the other’s ideas and needs.  And, in the end, each would give everything for the other.

  1. Crowley & Aziraphale (Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman)

These two are something else.  Anytime an angel and a demon make friends, I’m all in.  An unlikely friendship turns to partners in crime of sorts and all sorts of chaos follows in their wake.

  1. Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams).

What more can you want out of a friend – who is also an alien, by the way – than to have them guide you through the universe, steal a spaceship, and take you to the Restaurant at the End of the Universe?  I mean, count me in.  Just keep the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters to yourself.  I have to work in the morning.

  1. Stephanie Plum and Lula (Stephanie Plum by Janet Evanovich).

Even after twenty-nine books, I’m still here for all the chaos that follows Steph and Lula.  Pass the TastyKakes and let the girls run wild because it’s sure to be an adventure.

  1. Mickey Haller and his entire crew (The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly).

Mickey is a great character and is honestly my favorite in the Bosch Universe.  He gets along with pretty much everyone.  An excellent example of this is him hiring his second ex-wife, Lorna, to be his office manager and her new boyfriend/husband as his investigator.  He and Cisco sometimes bump heads, but they always get to the bottom of the case.

What are some of your favorite relationships?


Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge for September 6, 2023

Each Wednesday, Long and Short Reviews hosts a weekly “blog hop”. For more details on how to participate, please click here.

Today’s topic is: Song Lyrics I’ve Misheard

August Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ Saltwater Sorrows by Rhonda Parrish (Editor)

Saltwater Sorrows by Rhonda Parrish (editor)
Publisher: Tyche Books
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery/Thriller, LGBTQ, Paranormal, Romance, Historical, Action/Adventure, Contemporary
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Deep, mysterious, beautiful . . . dangerous . . .

Women and the sea have been tied together in myth and story from the beginning of time. Tales of women being drawn to the sea or being left on the shore, waiting for their men’s return, have been passed down through the ages.

But what mysteries lie beneath the sparkling placid waters? What power drives the wind and waves crashing against the shore? There is transformation and exaltation—magic—in the ocean and women alike. And both know that while the sea gives, the sea also takes.

Sink into the icy depths of the ocean with these stories by: E.E. King; Natalie Cannon; Morgan Melhuish; Paul A. Hamilton; Laura VanArendonk Baugh; Sarah Van Goethem; Adria Laycraft; Dino Parenti; B. Zelkovich; Lisa Carreiro; Lea Storry; Nikoline Kaiser; Elin Olausson; Chandra Fisher; Hayley Stone; V.F. LeSann; Catherine MacLeod; and Jennifer R. Donohue.


Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge for August 30, 2023

Each Wednesday, Long and Short Reviews hosts a weekly “blog hop”. For more details on how to participate, please click here.

Today’s topic is: The Weirdest Thing I Loved as a Child

Top Ten Tuesday: Water-Themed Books and Films We’ve Reviewed

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

One of the coolest things about being part of a group of reviewers working together is the wide range of genres and perspectives we cover here.

I rarely read romance, for example, but I stay up-to-date on some of the newest titles out there thanks to my fellow reviewers who spend some to all of their reading time in that genre. Likewise, those of us who love horror give everyone else a chance to know what’s going on with the scary side of modern fiction as well.

Here are some of the books and films we’ve discussed over the past few months that have water references in their titles. If you pay close attention, you might notice a tiny bit of overlap between this list and last week’s list.

The genres they cover range from mystery to picture books to science fiction, so there’s a little something here for just about everyone. I think it’s cool to look for the similarities not only between books but between book reviewers as well!

Just like last week, I wrote this post in advance for scheduling purposes. It’s once again possible there might be another water-themed review or two on our front page by the time this is published.

1. On Duck Pond by Jane Yolen

Genre: Children’s


2. Saltwater Sorrows by Rhonda Parrish 

Genre: Science Fiction


3. Razorblade Tears by S. A. Cosby

Genre: Mystery


4. Fuddles and Puddles by Frans Vischer

Genre: Children’s


5. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

Genre: Mainstream Fiction


6. Dragon Springs & Other Things by Raven Oak 

Genre: Science Fiction


7. Fresh Water for Flowers by Valerie Perri

Genre: Romance


8. Deep Tide by Laura Griffin

Genre: Mystery


9. Movie Review: Adam & the Water

Genre: Science Fiction


10. Salt Water by Eugenia Triantafyllou

Genre: Science Fiction


What books with watery themes or titles have you read lately?


Movie Review: Big Crow

Big Crow
Director: Kris Kaczor
Writer: Inila Wakan
Producer: Kevin Bayson
Cinematography: Matt Lyons
Editor: Steve Nemsic
Rated: 4 Stars (8 stars on IMDB)
Review by: Astilbe

BIG CROW is a verité-style documentary that tells the story of how young Lakota basketball star SuAnne Big Crow became an activist, and how her message of hope continues to help her people reclaim their culture 30 years after her death. Part biography and part social commentary, BIG CROW is a story about the power of hope in the most destitute place in America, South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Found in the poorest county in America, Pine Ridge is plagued by rampant drug, alcohol, and sexual abuse which drives the highest teen suicide rate in the country. Access to healthy food and health care is virtually non-existent, and the Lakota there continue to experience the oppressive racism that outlawed their religion, language, and traditions 130 years ago. It’s possible that there has never been a people more in need of a hero than SuAnne’s Lakota tribe.

By age 14, SuAnne Big Crow had become one of South Dakota’s best basketball players, leading her Pine Ridge Lady Thorpes to become the first ever Native American state champions. By age 17, her social activism had made her a household name across the Great Plains. Thirty years after her tragic death, SuAnne’s pride in her people continues to galvanize the Lakota in their fight to save their language and reclaim their culture.

Heroes live in every community.

It was wonderful to explore modern Lakota culture in Pine Ridge. I must confess that I didn’t know a lot about this topic before I watched this documentary, so I appreciated how much effort was put into sharing not only the struggles of this tribe but also their triumphs as well. Everything was balanced out nicely, and it made me want to dive even more deeply into this topic. There were so many things about their culture that didn’t quite fit into the scope of this film but that I yearned to learn more about. To me, that is a sign of a job well done, indeed!

As much as I loved seeing how SuAnne’s legacy has positively impacted her tribe for more than thirty years now, I would have liked to see a little more attention paid to who she was as a person before she died. Her time on the basketball court was documented beautifully, but I didn’t get as much of a sense of who she was in other areas of her life. For example, she seemed to be an outgoing person who had a fantastic sense of humor, but it would have been helpful to have more stories about how she behaved and why she was so obviously adored by everyone who knew her.

One of the most difficult aspects of living through a tragedy can be finding meaning in pain and grief that feels meaningless. SuAnne’s family, friends, and community found so many incredible ways to honor her memory and continue her work to improve life for everyone in their tribe. Without giving away too many spoilers, they have excelled at remembering SuAnne and encouraging the next generation to follow her example. I especially enjoyed the last ten minutes or so that showed how far her influence has spread and how much of a difference she’s still making in the lives of people who weren’t even born yet when she was alive.

Big Crow was a tear-jerker and a fabulous exploration of a portion of modern history I knew nothing about.

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge for August 23, 2023

Each Wednesday, Long and Short Reviews hosts a weekly “blog hop”. For more details on how to participate, please click here.

Today’s topic is: Three Fun Facts About Myself