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Q&A with a Cannonballer: ElCicco up to bat


How many times have you participated in CBR?

I started with CBR4! So this is my 6th year, which is hard to believe. Time flies when you're reading. I used to see Pajiba posts in my FB feed and especially enjoyed the book reviews. I thought it would be good for me to write about the books I read because I'd seen an article about warding off dementia by keeping your brain active with reading and writing. So far so good!

Has being a participant changed the way you read? If so, how?

I think so. I've branched out more with genres. I read more sci-if and fantasy than I used to, and thanks to Cannonballers, I've been turned on to writers like Rainbow Rowell and classics like Three Men In a Boat.

See what else ElCicco has to say »



On March 8, book clubbers came together to discuss Indra Das's The Devourers. Most of us didn't seem to love this one, but it led to some interesting discussion nonetheless. Up next: nonfiction. Voting will be April 12. Stay tuned!


Authors getting involved

Our fan mail page has been getting a workout lately, with authors commenting on reviews and responding on Twitter. In a new wrinkle, however, author Maria Murnane contacted MsWas about a review Classic wrote of a Sophia Kinsella book. Classic had given the book three stars and an eye roll, and Murnane wanted to send Classic an advanced reader copy (ARC) of one of her own works to see if she fared any better. The prolific Classic, however (89 reviews already), was already a fan of Murnane's and had read all of her works. Her gamble panned out: four stars!

You may have noticed CBR reviews with a disclaimer that the reader received an ARC in exchange for a review, which is not a guarantee that it'll be a favorable review. Goodreads and NetGalley have some information about becoming an ARC reader, if you're interested.

Interesting to find out that authors are not only checking up on our opinions about their books but scoping out the competition as well! It's all connected.

Reading can be #social

The Cannonball Read Instagram page is becoming more and more robust, thanks to creative efforts to include photos in so many reviews. There are featured photos and links and comments, so feel free to join in the conversation, visually or otherwise. If you need help adding a picture to a review, check out the handy-dandy FAQ


CBR Style Tips: indenting

Rules we learned as wee nerds are so hard to unlearn, aren't they? It took me eons before I fully embraced the single space between sentences; it just felt wrong. Another tough habit to break is indenting. What was once a hard and fast word processing rule is now a dinosaur, replaced by a space between paragraphs.

According to Practical Typography, "First-line indents and space between paragraphs have the same relationship as belts and suspenders. You only need one to get the job done. Using both is a mistake." So come, join us in rampantly neglecting our Tab keys, and leave the indenting to the typewriters.


Pick the five weirdest objects on your desk...

Which would be the most creative bookmarks? This Ask a Librarian post asks "What’s the most interesting, memorable, or just plain weird thing you’ve found in a library book?" I'm sure there are numerous used bookstore-devotees in the Cannon Fodder audience - what's the weirdest thing you've found (or left yourself) in a book? Let us know! #CannonballBookmark


Stuff We're Reading

Ol’ Hollywood: Jake's review of Windhall

Apr 11, 2021 08:15 pm
Sigh. Why can’t books like this be easier to review? There’s so much to like about Ava Barry’s debut novel Windhall…and so much that grated on my nerves. I really wanted to push this to a charity first-book-4-star review and I just couldn’t. The book kind of feels like the version of the decaying mansion at the center of the story: beautiful and glamorous but uninhabitable and far past its prime. Probably easier with this one to pull out the old good/bad formula: Good: -The book […]
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A gorgeous exploration of family, grief and love: llamareadsbooks's review of Love at First

Apr 11, 2021 07:37 pm
Kate Clayborn’s spectacular Love Lettering was the first book I read in 2020. Now, while the rest of the year didn’t work out so well, I can’t deny that it was an amazing reading year for me, and now Love at First looks like it’s continuing that tradition. I am an absolute sucker for a found family story, and this is an expert exploration of that trope and its power. It’s also got a bit of a Romeo & Juliet feel, and since that’s literally […]
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“It’s not natural for women to fight.” “It’s not natural for someone to be as stupid as he is tall, and yet there you stand.”: ardaigle's review of Six of Crows

Apr 11, 2021 06:00 pm
Apparently there is a book blurb that refers to this book as “Game of Thrones meets Ocean’s Eleven.” I get a little hesitant and skeptical when books are presented in contrast with other popular things, mostly I think because someone once told me I’d like Twilight because it was like “Harry Potter and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” NO. FALSE. HOW DARE YOU. So you can see where I’d be a little scarred by pop culture comparisons. That said, the Thrones meets Eleven analogy is much […]
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share on Twitter Like “It’s not natural for women to fight.” “It’s not natural for someone to be as stupid as he is tall, and yet there you stand.”: ardaigle's review of Six of Crows on Facebook

“It’s still true”: ardaigle's review of Homecoming

Apr 11, 2021 04:06 pm
In the early pandemic times, when I had that “new pandemic energy,” I started reading the first books of The Babysitter’s Club series on Facebook live, adding in my own color commentary. It was a hit, I mean TENS of people tuned in (heh). Like a lot of new quirky pandemic hobbies (I’m looking at you, sourdough starter) it soon lost it’s luster and I only made it like 2 and a half books in, and I stowed the books on my book shelf in […]
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I really liked this one. It’s silly, but fun!: crystalclear's review of Never Fall For Your Fiancée

Apr 11, 2021 03:55 pm
Hugh Standish, the Earl of Fareham, has a bit of a problem.  His mother is coming to visit, all the way from America, to meet his fiancée.  His fiancée who Hugh has entirely made up to stop his mother from matchmaking.  Hugh has created an entirely fictional fiancée named Minerva, and he’s about to get caught.  Or is he?   Hugh happens to come to the rescue of a young lady trying to claim her earnings from an advertisement she created illustrations for.  And just […]
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share on Twitter Like I really liked this one.  It’s silly, but fun!: crystalclear's review of Never Fall For Your Fiancée on Facebook


Amanda Howard (aka "Bothari43")

The Cannonball Read Newsletter Nerd
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