Booklist Rocks

The fabulous John Charles of Booklist gave Maybe This Time a starred review.

Starred Review: The plan did not include ghosts, or working, even temporarily, for her ex-husband, North Archer. The plan was for Andromeda “Andie” Miller to march into North’s law office, return a decade’s worth of uncashed alimony checks, and depart to begin her bright new romantic future with writer Will Spenser. But somehow Andie ends up taking care of North’s two young wards. The kids have already gone through three nannies, one of whom claimed Archer House is haunted, but Andie figures she can manage for a month. Until she starts seeing ghosts herself. Six years after her last solo effort, Bet Me (2004), RITA Award-winning Crusie triumphantly returns with a bewitching tale. Graced with deliciously original characters (including a housekeeper who could give Mrs. Danvers a run for her money), imbued with addictively acerbic wit, driven by a wildly inventive, paranormal-flavored plot that offers a subtle literary nod to Henry James, and featuring two protagonists who just might get their romance right the second time around, Maybe This Time is Crusie at her very best.

— John Charles

51 thoughts on “Booklist Rocks

  1. Now THIS is a review. “Addictively acerbic” – not just well put, but yummy alliteration. The Mrs. Danvers reference is spot on. Now I have to read all reviews by John Charles who is not just discerning and wise, but who obviously has a great sense of humor.

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    1. John Charles is a sweetheart. He and Sarah from Smart Bitches are the only reviewers I’ve ever met in person and they’re both terrific.

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      1. And I am totally not surprised by the raves. I think Kirkus needs hugs. Or therapy. Or to get laid. Maybe all three.

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        1. Good sign. I love Sarah, she’s so smart. Even before she liked my book, I thought she was smart. Now, of course, she’s a genius.

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    1. Hey, completley off topic, but what does ‘what a mensch!’ express? Being German, I do know the literal meaning of the word (human) but am always interested in how German words are used in English.

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      1. I thought it came into English through Yiddish? My sister started using it a lot once she was dating (then married to) a Jewish guy. Essentially, I think it’s “what a really decent guy!” If I’m wrong, don’t tell my sister!

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        1. Yiddish is a mixture of German, Polish and Hebrew, if I remember right, so that would make sense. Thanks!

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  2. Toni said:

    And I am totally not surprised by the raves. I think Kirkus needs hugs. Or therapy. Or to get laid. Maybe all three.

    Humor, Har! (in the words of Jenny). Glad someone has good taste!!

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    1. I was pretty good before but yes, it is reassuring to get the score 2 to 1 instead of tied.
      Now Library Journal and then all the trades will be in.

      For those of you wondering why all the hoora about the trade reviews, lots of booksellers and librarians rely on the trades when making their orders. Orders determine print runs; that is, publishers print pretty much the number ordered. If you don’t get enough books out there, you can’t make the lists, so the initial print run is crucial. The lists are meaningless after the first month the book is out, but for that first month, no matter how inaccurate they are, they drive sales. And sales will determine if your publisher goes back to print more books which ups your chances of staying on the list which ups your chances of more sales and reprints . . .

      As Light would say, it’s a cause and effect thing. SMP is getting a good solid number of books out there already; that is, the initial print run is very good. But if good reviews make bookstores and libraries increase their orders, that is also very good. Publishing: we don’t need no stinkin’ logic, we just need good trade reviews.

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    2. If I bought for my library and it wasn’t an academic library, I’d buy MTT for it. Instead I just bought it for myself. Which has me wondering, how does pre-orders on Amazon and the like affect the print run?

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      1. The print run is determined by the orders that booksellers and libraries made a couple of months before the book comes out, so everybody’s guessing. They can up their order at any time, so preorders on Amazon might increase Amazon’s order, but basically, everybody’s guessing until the book comes out and people actually start to buy (or, gulp, not buy). Really, whoever said, “Publishing isn’t a business, it’s a casino” was dead on.

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  3. Compare and contrast the writing in the two reviews. John Charles is superior, reviewer for the discerning buyer. He catches the tone. Clearly, Charles is the one to trust. Smackies (mwaah!) and huggies to him.

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  4. See, now there is a useful review. That is a review which I could show to a customer, and which a librarian could show to a patron, and which a patron could show to a librarian, and it would help all of the above make an informed decision on whether they should buy/read/acquire the book. That is what reviews are for. Thank you, John Charles.

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  5. Aside to Tine — I’ve always heard the Yiddish slang term “mensch” used to refer to someone who is a kind of Good Guy — along with a component of assertiveness. So, someone who is friendly, trustworthy, but who stands up to aggressiveness. It also suggests a kind of humorous attitude along with those other qualities.

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  6. Obviously a man of distinction and taste.

    I’ve met him, he’s one of the most awesome people on the planet, and, yes, a man of distinction and taste. Just smart, smart, smart. I completely trust his opinion.

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  7. Good reviews in the lead!

    Also, a review with no spoilers that talks about the feel and writing of the book, not just the plot. Woo Mr. Charles!

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  8. And a star–excellent in terms of library sales! (And while some authors view library sales as fewer individual sales [yes, I have read blogs in which authors have said that] actually library sales are a great opportunity to increase readership.)

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    1. Library sales are huge and we love them. Anybody who thinks that library sales aren’t crucial doesn’t understand publishing.

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    2. I saw an author say that once, too, and it puzzled me. That’s a very short-sighted mentality.

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    3. What irritates me most is when people say books from the library are free. Maybe to the library card holder for a while, but the publisher & all got paid for the book by the library. Also annoyed with comments when the publishing houses have equated libraries with piracy especially concerning ebooks. Gets my undies in a twist! … And ending rant and climbing off soapbox as none of you are stating any such things.

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      1. Publishing houses equate library e-books with piracy? Which ones? That makes no sense. If they bought the eBook and they’re loaning it out (because they’re libraries, duh) how can that possibly be piracy?
        Any decent publisher knows library sales are crucial. Somebody was off his meds on that one.

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    4. My memory is telling me it was Macmillan. I remember being truly grumpy with them because they wouldn’t sell their ebooks to libraries. They may not have said that libraries pirated the ebooks but that it would lead to piracy. It was many month ago so maybe they have changed their tune, but I do remember being pissed at Macmilian for a long time. Actually, I think I heard about all of it via Smartbitches. Yep, I did, see sbtb post from 10/29/09. Turns out he didn’t exactly say libraries are pirating but implied the patrons wouldn’t have to pay for the ebooks so he won’t sell ebooks to libraries. Anyway, still pissed me off. (I checked because I didn’t want to blemish one publisher if they weren’t the one who said it.)

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      1. That’s my CEO. He’s usually a really smart guy, but this one I don’t get. How is it different from loaning a paper book? The impulse factor?

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      2. Wow. That’s an amazing comment to make, actually. I disagree with it on a couple of levels. But this industry is changing so quickly– I can’t tell you how quickly. It’s like a roller coaster ride, except that when it feels like the bottom is dropping out? Yeah, it may actually drop out, and it’s my career that the bottom might drop out of, not a roller coaster car. He may have made that comment last October, and yet he might have an entirely different stance on the issue today. Everybody in the book industry is revising their long-held beliefs on where the industry is going and how to succeed in it rapidly and constantly. It’s dizzying. I’m starting to look at how valuable I am as a bookseller at least partially in terms of ebook reader sales, and I definitely didn’t see that coming four months ago.

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    5. Hopefully, they have changed their stance, but I don’t know one way or the other. I do realize the entire publishing industry is struggling with ebooks and how to price them, provide access to them and still make a profit. Part of it is adjusting as things change and part is accepting that change. In articles the publishers seem to be very much like the music industry companies who have also struggled with mp3s instead of cds. It will get figured out eventually I have to trust.

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  9. Yay!! Excellent. . .and all of the above. “Fabulous” John Charles at Booklist!! This is the kind of review this book should have! Thank you John Charles.

    And reassuring to other writers.

    Nice way to go into the weekend! :-))))

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