[REVIEW] Hope Rides Again – Andrew Shaffer

Andrew Shaffer
Hope Rides Again (Obama Biden Mysteries, Book 2)
Penguin Random House Quirk Books (US & CA: 9th July 2019; AU: 16th July 2019)
Buy (US Kindle Edition) Buy (US Paperback) Buy (UK Kindle Edition) Buy (UK Paperback) Buy (CA Kindle Edition) Buy (CA Paperback) Buy (Worldwide Hardcover) Buy (Worldwide Paperback)

In the Obama Biden Mysteries ‘verse, the events of Hope Never Dies (in the real world) have been fictionalised into Murder on the Amtrak Express – which is, according to character Joe Biden, “a bunch of malarkey.”

Yep, author Andrew Shaffer roasts his own book, his own writing, and his own self (“hack”). Love it!

Hope Rides Again chronicles one eventful day in Chicago. A missing BlackBerry, a shooting, freight containers of weapons from out of state…and it all goes down in a show-stopping luxury yacht scene.

We spend more time with Michelle Obama, who has Resting Concerned Face whenever Joe’s around, and meet Chicago’s mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Chicago is a “Democrat-run” city, as critics like to point out as they claim there are shootings every night. And there probably are. But to understand why is not as simple as conservatives pretend. Illinois has stricter firearms laws than other states, and right-wingers say that’s why there’s so much gun violence, and if residents could legally own and carry weapons crime would be down.

They love talking about Chicago’s gun violence. But they don’t mourn victims, hold vigils, or fundraise for families affected. That would mean doing something helpful, rather than just being smug and blaming left-wingers.

The problem isn’t Illinois as much as it is that other American states have looser laws. That’s why Australia doesn’t have the same gun problem as the USA. While farmers have legal firearms, your average Australian (not part of the crime family ganglands) does not. Fewer accidental shootings, fewer suicides-by-shooting, and fewer intentional shooting of others. We don’t have the same attachment to firearms, because not only do we not want to be victims of gun violence, but we also don’t want the temptation to COMMIT it. Whereas the pro-pew-pew in the USA aren’t willing to acknowledge that they could ever be perpetrators. They only see themselves as potential victims. They aren’t willing to confront their own potential to become the bad guy. That they may already be the bad guy.

Fun book, though.

[REVIEW] I Sexually Identify As an Attack Helicopter – Isabel Fall

WARNING: The story’s title is deliberately provocative. Opinion varies from person to person on whether the story itself is transmisia or not. Thus, reviews and think-pieces may be transmisia, too. Read with caution.

Isabel Fall
I Sexually Identify As an Attack Helicopter (short story/novelette, only available in the collection)
Clarkesworld Issue 160 (4th January 2020)
Buy (US Kindle Edition) [click on “Current Issue” – “Monthly Subscription” is the default] Buy (US Paperback) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

I’m not used to reading fiction onscreen (I’m a print-book reader), so my attention was divided.

I’m probably not the target audience, because I’m not into military fiction – speculative or otherwise.

There’s a lot of discussion about this story. It’s harmed some people, but others have really related to it. And others have mixed feelings.

Gender and sexuality are different things. But do they influence each other? Does gender affect sexuality? Does sexuality affect gender? Does transition affect sexuality, or the other way around? Is a helicopter (in the story) a gender or a sexuality, or both, or neither? Without gender or sexuality stereotyping (from self or others) – or bullying/harassment/abuse – would dysphoria still exist?

The military scenes didn’t appeal to me, but the in-between sections about gender and sexuality are interesting. I wouldn’t say I “like” this story, but it’s a spark for personal reflection. (Essays are already published). It may spark discussions, but gender and sexuality are very personal subjects, so it’s uncertain how constructive discussions will be.

We don’t know much (or anything) about the author, so we don’t know the author’s perspective. We don’t know the target audience. (Well, Clarkesworld readers. But best suited to cis, trans, or enby readers?) We don’t know what point the author was making.

Now Available for US Pre-Order

Keri Arthur’s BLACKBIRD RISING paperback (3rd February 2020) is now available for US pre-order http://www.amazon.com/Blackbird-Rising-Witch-Kings-Crown/dp/0648497348?tag=tesa06-20
Nicci French’s HOUSE OF CORRECTION (13th October 2020) is now available for US pre-order http://www.amazon.com/House-Correction-Novel-Nicci-French/dp/0063021358?tag=tesa06-20
Megan Hart’s SHATTERED is now available http://www.amazon.com/Shattered-Megan-Hart/dp/1951868056?tag=tesa06-20
Kristi Helvig’s THE BOY WHO WASN’T THERE is now available http://www.amazon.com/Boy-Who-Wasnt-There-ebook/dp/B083PWKYHG?tag=tesa06-20
Carrie Jones’s THE PLACES WE HIDE is now available http://www.amazon.com/Places-Hide-Harbor-Rose-Mysteries/dp/1656578581?tag=tesa06-20
Kass Morgan & Danielle Paige’s THE RAVENS (5th January 2021) is now available for US pre-order http://www.amazon.com/Ravens-Kass-Morgan-ebook/dp/B083JT3RQV?tag=tesa06-20
Scott Westerfeld’s third IMPOSTORS novel (6th October 2020) is now available for US pre-order http://www.amazon.com/Impostors-3-Scott-Westerfeld/dp/1338151584?tag=tesa06-20

[REVIEW] Hope Never Dies – Andrew Shaffer

Andrew Shaffer
Hope Never Dies (Obama Biden Mysteries, Book 1)
Penguin Random House Quirk Books (US, CA, & AU: 10th July 2018)
Buy (US Kindle Edition) Buy (US Paperback) Buy (UK Kindle Edition) Buy (UK Paperback) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide Hardcover) Buy (Worldwide Paperback)

I still don’t understand how books with murders count as “cozy”, but there’s a lot I don’t understand about most things.

I kind of get the appeal, though. Because even with murder, this is still somewhat of a “comfort read”. People trying to seek justice. No romance (really, that’s rare in fiction nowadays). Friendship. And it was nice to learn about Wilmington, which I knew nothing about before. (Forgive me; I’m a dim foreigner.)

I’m already onto the sequel, Hope Rides Again. Wonder if there’ll be a third novel in the series?

Kindle Edition Shopping: $0.99 – $3.99 (US)

I have Kindle Edition shopped. Buy these books now, or pay more for them later!

$0.99 Samantha Hayes’s THE LIAR’S WIFE https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GX16TFM?tag=tesa06-20

$1.99 Megan Hart’s WOMB https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XR4HH79?tag=tesa06-20

$1.99 Beth Revis’s SOME PUBLISHING ADVICE https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0184VWFPO?tag=tesa06-20

$1.99 Beth Revis’s SOME MARKETING ADVICE https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01A2JL5S4?tag=tesa06-20

$2.99 Parker Peevyhouse’s THE ECHO ROOM https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078X2D4FP?tag=tesa06-20

$3.99 Samantha Hayes’s TELL ME A SECRET https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07C547GCB?tag=tesa06-20

$3.99 Samantha Hayes’s DATE NIGHT https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07TLC739G?tag=tesa06-20

$3.99 Kate Karyus Quinn’s ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE https://www.amazon.com/dp/B009NF69C6?tag=tesa06-20

Now Available for US Pre-Order

Long time, no blog! I’ve been active daily on Twitter, though, as well as regularly posting on Facebook and Goodreads. I did have a backlog of covers to post, but I ended up deleting them, because I just could not summon up the energy to blog.

However, here I am with a backlog of pre-orders – 20 of them. They’ll have cover art when you visit the links, so consider that to make up for what I’ve lacked. Also, my Reading Wishlist will have a complete list of releases (past, present, and future) that I hope to read at some stage.

Tara Altebrando: TAKE ME WITH YOU: 23rd June 2020: Buy (US)
V. C. Andrews: OUT OF THE ATTIC: 4th February 2020: Buy (US)
Kelley Armstrong: WOLF’S BANE: 15th October 2019: Buy (US)
Keri Arthur: WICKED WINGS: 8th October 2019: Buy (US)
Chris Beckett: BENEATH THE WORLD, A SEA (paperback): 1st April 2020: Buy (US)
Jessica Brody & Joanne Rendell: Sky Without Stars (paperback): 24th March 2020: Buy (US)
Jessica Brody & Joanne Rendell: Between Burning Worlds: 24th March 2020: Buy (US)
Suzanne Collins: untitled Panem novel: 19th May 2020: Buy (US)
Christina Dalcher: MASTER CLASS: 21st April 2020: Buy (US)
Claudia Gray: DEFY THE FATES (paperback): 3rd March 2020: Buy (US)
S. F. Henson: DEVILS WITHIN (paperback): 4th February 2020: Buy (US)
Alaya Dawn Johnson: COUNT THE SAINTS: 26th May 2020: Buy (US)
Laura Lam: GOLDILOCKS: 30 April 2020: Buy (US)
Mindy McGinnis, Demitria Lunetta, Kate Karyus Quinn (eds.): Betty Bites Back: 16th September 2019: Buy (US)
Kate McLaughlin: WHAT UNBREAKABLE LOOKS LIKE: 23rd June 2020: Buy (US)
Tiffany Reisz: WINTER TALES: 19th November 2019: Buy (US)
Veronica Roth: ARK: 17th September 2019: Buy (US)
Veronica Roth: CHOSEN ONES: 6th April 2020: Buy (US)
Paul Tremblay: THE LAST CONVERSATION: 17th September 2019: Buy (US)
Andy Weir: RANDOMIZE: 17th September 2019: Buy (US)

Now Available for US Pre-Order

Josephine Angelini: WHAT SHE FOUND IN THE WOODS: 25th July 2019: Buy (US)
Rachel Caine & Ann Aguirre: HONOR LOST: 11th February 2020: Buy (US)
Cecil Castellucci: GIRL ON FILM: 19th November 2019: Buy (US)
Amy Ewing: THE CERULEAN (paperback): 4th February 2020: Buy (US)
Amy Ewing: THE ALCAZAR: 3rd March 2020: Buy (US)
Lisa Heathfield: I AM NOT A NUMBER: 27th June 2019: Buy (US)
Mindy McGinnis: HEROINE (paperback): 4th February 2020: Buy (US)
Mindy McGinnis: BE NOT FAR FROM ME: 3rd March 2020: Buy (US)
Seanan McGuire: ANY WAY THE WIND BLOWS: 3rd July 2019: Buy (US)
Seanan McGuire: IMAGINARY NUMBERS: 25th February 2020: Buy (US)
Tara Moss: DEAD MAN SWITCH: 21st October 2019: Buy (AU)
Natasha Preston: THE TWIN: 3rd March 2020: Buy (US)
Danielle Rollins: STOLEN TIME (paperback): 21st January 2020: Buy (US)
Danielle Rollins: TWISTED FATES: 25th February 2020: Buy (US)
Maria V. Snyder: CHASING THE SHADOWS: 18th November 2019: Buy (AU)