Midu Reads

 

http://phollo.me/miduhadi 

SPOILER ALERT!

November 2018 — A Wrap-Up

 

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Cinder by Marissa Meyer

 

Even though I read this book in October, I forgot to include it in that month’s wrap-up. So, reviewing it now. Cinder is the story of Cinderella but one who is half cyborg and works as a mechanic. All the elements you’d expect from such a story are there, i.e., an evil stepmom, a dead dad, and a prince who is smitten with the poor girl.

 

But the same goes for the issues that the original (read Disney) version and most YAs have. For instance, the forging of an instant connection between the prince and Cindy. She is considered expendable and is extremely poor at the beginning of the story. Yet soon she not only attracts royalty, but her blood also becomes the only source that can cure the virus plaguing the country. We also come across completely irredeemable and good-spirited characters, meaning everything is black and white.

 

All that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy this modern twist on an old story because I did, which is why I will be reading the next one.

 

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Johannes Cabal the Necromancer by Jonathan L. Howard

 

The story opens on a man, Johanne Cabal, the Necromancer, striding into hell and demanding to see Satan. Having sold his soul for necromancy, he now wants it back. The reason for that becomes clear only at the end of the book and that too only partially. Satan sets him to achieve a seemingly insurmountable task in return for Cabal’s soul.

As Johannes recruits, recreates, and alienates people during the journey, we meet many quirky characters. The best thing about the book is undoubtedly its sense of humor.

 

Take a look:

“I was cast down from the presence of God himself into this dark, sulphurous pit and condemned to spend eternity here—”

“Have you tried saying sorry?” interrupted Cabal.

“No, I haven’t! I was sent down for a sin of pride. It rather undermines my position if I say ‘sorry’!”

The quote above is an excerpt from the exchange between Cabal and the Devil. The one below is about a crow (one of Satan’s minion) that follows Johannes around when its master can’t spy on him:

It looked at them; first with one eye, then with the other. Then, to show it was a polymath among crows, it went back to the first eye.

Besides laughing out loud, I also learned a few new words. You can view them below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

All in all, I can’t wait to read the next one!

 

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Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente

 

This wasn’t the first book of Ms. Valente that I read. And like that one, this book was a beautiful hot mess. Her prose is almost succulent enough that you can bite into it and yet, in the end, you will be left thinking, What did I just read? 

 

Was it a commentary on the Russian Revolution? Was the book about Russian myths? Was it a coming of age story? Or, was it simply fantasy YA? I’d say there was a bit of everything in it!

 

 

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The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

 

A friend who exclusively reads middle-grade fantasy is crazy about this series. Since her taste in books and mine matches, I was excited to get started with this one.

 

It left me both underwhelmed and pleasantly surprised. The writing is crisp in a way that it immerses you in the scene playing before you. Consider the lines below on how the protag had been raised by her single mother:

Maura had decided sometime
before Blue’s birth that it was barbaric to order children about,
and so Blue had grown up surrounded by imperative question
marks.

I also loved the wry humor, which can be seen clearly in the example below:

Calla had once observed that Maura had no pets because her
principles took too much time to take care of.

What I wasn’t that crazy about was the mystery that the story is based on. I liked the characters and mostly enjoyed the book — even though I caught on to the twist pretty early. But the story failed to excite about the mystery. And there was a lot of random stuff going on. The tree that showed the future, for instance, why was it even there?

 

I’d like to continue with this trilogy though.

 

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My Soul to Keep by Rachel Vincent

 

I always enjoy reading anything by Rachel Vincent. Even though this book is majorly YA-flawed, I still enjoyed it because I am used to her writing style. No, I don’t have anything against YA, but certain things like the heroine failing to see that her bf was the demonic drug supplier can only happen in YA books.

 

Anyway, this series has grown on me and I intend to see it through.

 

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Damned by Chuck Palahniuk

 

Another book set in hell. I had been looking for such books because I had landed on the square for it in book bingo. The Cabal book was enough for it but since I had already done the hard work researching them and because I had liked Fight Club, I went ahead with this one too.

 

Normally, it bugs me when a male author writes a female character who is annoyingly smart or just full of themselves. Like these lines below made me wanna smack the heroine:

Such vocabulary props served as my eye shadow, my breast implants, my physical coordination, my confidence. These words: erudite and insidious and obfuscate, served as my crutches.

And it happened many more times. Most of the time, though, the writing was good enough to rescue the book from abandonment. Consider this sample:

Trickling toenails threaten to become full-fledged avalanches which could bury us alive (alive?) in their talus of prickly keratin.

And this one:

That, I think, is the function of Hell: It’s a place of remembering. Beyond that, the purpose of Hell is not so much to forget the details of our lives as it is to forgive them.

I also learned some new words:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay, so I have no clue if the jejunum (part of the small intestine that absorbs nutrients from already digested food particles) has its roots in the word, jejune, or not. But it would be cool if it did, right?

 

As you can see, I didn’t do much reading this month. How did you fare?

SPOILER ALERT!

Reading Anniversaries & First-in-a-Series — August Edition

 
Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on November 23, 2018.

 

 

2018

 

Go here for the books I read in August this year!

 

2017

 

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A Plague of Angels by Sheri S. Tepper

 

My review

 

 

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Raptor Red by Robert T. Bakker

 

My review

 

 

2016

 

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The Unadulterated Cat by Terry Pratchett

 

My review

 

2015

 

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Samurai Jack, Vol. 1 by Jim Zub

 

As fun as the cartoon had been!

 

 

2014

 

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The Gate to Women's Country by Sheri S. Tepper

 

I'm beginning to appreciate Tepper's writing I think. This book started the way most books based on a dichotomous society would start. The women were good for breeding and whoring. The men enlisted in the military and lorded over the women. But the twist at the end took me by surprise! Read my appreciation of her other book here.

 

2013

 

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Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

 

While political strife forms the backdrop in this book, our focus is on one family trying to get through all the chaos in one piece. I loved every bit of this book! This was my first book by Adichie and I can't wait to try the others.

 

 

2012

 

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Coyote Blue by Christopher Moore

 

Irreverent as heck but laugh out loud funny is how I'd describe Moore's humor. In this book, a conman meets The Conman i.e. Coyote, the trickster god. Hilarity ensues!

SPOILER ALERT!

October 2018 — A Wrap-Up

 

Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on November 15, 2018.

 

 

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An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard

 

This book surprised me and in a pleasant way. Having never read anything by Ms. Howard, I didn't really know what to expect. What I discovered was good UF with half decent world-building. It had shades of the movie Now You Can See Me  only the magic in the book wasn't an illusion.

 

We are introduced to the major players almost immediately. They each have their motivations and that was completely okay. The world-building should have been better because as far as I can see, this book is a standalone. Even if it is to be the first in a series, then it would need to be immersive enough for readers to continue with the sequel. I think it mostly does that.

 

 

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The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells

 

Wow! I mean I tried reading The War of the Worlds and failed miserably. If you can make a novel about an alien conquest sound boring, then there isn't much hope that I'd ever like anything you'd write. While playing Book Bingo, I landed on a category that fit this book beautifully. So, I decided to give Mr. Wells another go.

 

I am so glad that I did! Suspense colors the atmosphere in the story and there is a stench of violence waiting to happen. Why don't scientists ever learn? I kept cringing every time the humans faced the monsters (Moreau could give Frankenstein a run for the money)! Some were near misses and some events just foreshadowed the darkness that was to come.

 

The edition I read also came with a summary of H. G. Wells' life history. He had been involved in the formation of League of Nations. Cool!

 

 

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Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill

 

This book had issues similar to that I highlighted in the review of Kat Howard's book. Say, vampires do exist and they decide to come out. Won't there be a political upheaval to makes all other upheavals look silly? Nothing like that happened in this book.

 

Meritt caught my interest because she refused to be grateful for being turned into a bloodsucking parasite. She also clashed with the authorities regularly and I liked that she wasn't ready to give in to her attraction towards the head vampire just yet. Her troubled relationship with her gold-digger and nouveau riche parents cemented her authenticity as a person. As did her bonds with her bff and grandfather. What detracted from the believability factor was how she rebelled against her new life and yet gave up so easily on her old one. What of her dissertation? What about going back to school?

 

What did bug me was the identity of the person having humans killed by her minions. As far as twists go, this one was just all right.

 

Even so, I want to read the next one in the series before I decide if I will continue with the rest.

 

 

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The Dirt on Ninth Grave by Darynda Jones

 

The humor in these books is always a winner. Consider the two quotes below:

 

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But what I liked, even more, was that the series took a break from the disaster it had become. In case, you haven't yet read the last book or my review of it it was horrible. The author dropped a doozy of a deus ex machina on us. Then she left the readers with a huge cliffhanger that took us back to the prehistoric age (not literally)!

Guess what though? The last part did wonders for the book! I could reconnect with Charley without the usual over-the-top complications. The world was still about to end, but that wasn't going to happen just then. Charley did spend the whole book lusting after her husband even if she didn't know who he was. But that is typical behavior for her.

 

I also fell in love with Cookie all over again after reading this book. The woman has a life of her own, a daughter, and a husband. Yet she put everything on hold to come be with an amnesiac Charley. Even though she can't act worth a damn and kept slipping up and calling Charley by her real name. Cookie rocks! 

 

 

Bring on the next book!

 

 

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A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

Another book that I wish had read a long time ago. Now, I don't appreciate it the way it is meant to be lauded. Firstly, since it is by a female author writing epic fantasy. Yaaaaay! Then because the protagonist isn't white and male, but colored and male. Okay, this deserves a smaller yaaay. Even so, it is still a win.

 

What I wasn't a fan of was the writing style. It felt stilted and kept me from devouring the book in my usual way. Of course, the fact that I have read my fill of epic fantasy might have something to do with it. Although, this book wasn't much concerned with the affairs of the world. It focused on a character's solo journey to get rid of the darkness that he had called from another world.

 

So, I'll reserve the final verdict until I have read the next book in the series.

 

 

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Everwild by Neal Shusterman

 

I can never understand how a children's book can scare the pants off me when so many horror novels have failed to do that! Similarly, I survived watching Jessica Jones being mentally — and otherwise — raped by Killgrave repeatedly. And yet, I have to force myself to sit through one episode of A Series of Unfortunate Events!

 

The idea of kids being in control is a very scary one because they can be very cruel. At times, they won't even realize the extent of damage they are leaving on another kid's psyche. The good thing about kids managing their affairs is that they can take highly complicated concepts of morality and simplify them.

 

I had a great time reading this book for both those reasons. Can't wait to read the next one!

 

 

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Dark Crime by Christine Feehan

 

Have mostly given up on this series ever being anything but cheesy, if I ever thought so in the first place. This novella was a good surprise though. Instead of the swooning heroines, we were shown someone who could fight and hold her own. She was also the one who kept the vampires and their minions at bay while hubby went to ground.

 

Yeah, she was forced into the whole Carpathian mating for life ritual by her husband-to-be. And yes, she couldn't live without him as soon as he arrived at the scene. Little improvements, see?

 

 

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Dead Beat by Jim Butcher

 

The humor was on point, as usual. Look below for a crack or two:

 

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The relationship between Harry and his brother is slowly developing. By that, I mean they talked to each other about real stuff, like Thomas being thirsty all the time.

 

Susan was awesome!

 

The rest was pretty much as it always is:

 

Harry was trying to save a woman's life.

 

Harry couldn't hit women, even ones bent on killing him.

 

Harry defeated a threat that he couldn't possibly defeat.

 

Harry saves an adorable character who learns how to stand up for themselves and others.

 

Harry is hit with threats from all directions and lives to tell the tale.

 

 

So, this was my October in reading. How was yours?

SPOILER ALERT!

Reading Anniversaries & First-in-a-Series — July Edition

 

Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on November 3, 2018.

 

2017

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Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson

 

This was my first encounter with Kamala Khan and boy did I love what I read! What made her an authentic character were her lifelike issues, including those of being a teenager, a superhero coming into her powers, of trying to find her place in the world, and of being a Muslim American girl. She wanted to eat bacon, for instance, but couldn't because of her religious beliefs. She wanted to be able to just worry about her school, but she couldn't because she was a superhero with a job to do. So far, the series has stayed true to what makes it unique. I hope it does that in the future too.

 

Read my reviews of other volumes here and here.

 

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Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes by Thomas Cathcart, Daniel Klein

 

If there is one subject that I have always found boring, it is philosophy. That remained the case no matter how hard I tried until, i.e., I found this book. Hilarious and light, it walks you through complicated philosophical concepts like you are out for a walk in the park...or a bar!

 

Complete review here.

 

2015

 

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Alex + Ada by Jonathan Luna

 

I hadn't started reading many comics and graphic novels back when I read this series. To my surprise, not only did I like it, but I also connected with the characters. Like most awesome literature, this one is based in a dystopian world. I binged through the whole series before I could pace myself. Hope others will give it a chance too.

 

2014

 

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Kraken by China Miéville

 

It isn't that China Miéville's books are full of action or just really good stories. Well, they might be all that too. But if I remember correctly, this one was a collection of very random situations that somehow came together to give us a conclusion. Yet, I didn't want to put the book down even once. It was that good!

 

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Helens of Troy by Janine MsCaw

 

** spoiler alert **


What I liked: T
he book was fun- the ladies (all three of them) were crazy and stubborn but they delivered when the occasion called for it. That there were more secrets to unveil- a sequel would be awesome.


What I didn't like: T
he rest of the characters were as fun to read about- Tom, Ryan, poor Stan, and Jacey.

Would have liked a bit more about Jacey's baby- whether the vampire was bluffing and how did he found out about the kid, anyway.

there wasn't any information about how the wraith brothers teamed up with the vampire in the first place. Really fun read- demon nannies, vampire godsons, exorcizing runaway husbands, berserker football players, and ghost dads; the book has it all- & I would love to meet the grandmother-I'm sure she kicks ass too. She won't be on the Devil's hit list otherwise!

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The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

 

** spoiler alert ** 


This is the book to read if you like a little science in your zombie fiction. The author uses a fungal agent as the cause of zombieism. The fungus, ophiocordyceps unilateralis, is real. It infects and zombifies certain ants. 
It even has favorites among the same types of ants!


Not only did I love the sciencey bits, I remember starting that book cold. I hadn’t read any reviews and as a result, the moment when I realized who the little girl could be was delicious! Read this book, if you don’t read any other zombie fiction!

 

2013

 

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I, Robot by Isaac Asimov

 

I dunno what I can say about this book that hasn't been said about it already. Asimov wrote a definitive book that all future sci-fi robot-based books are inspired by. What do you say about such work?

More reviews of Asimov books here.

 

 

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Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson

 

I don't remember much about this book, except that I really liked it. Some of the scenes read like they were from The Exorcist but with a decidedly Mediterranean flavor. Others were simply Aladdin-ish. In short, the book was a lot of fun.

 

 

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Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

 

Okay, I hate reading popular books at their height of popularity. Dunno why I made an exception for this one, but I am so glad I did! The twist was beautifully done. Ooh, and I loved the movie too.

 

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The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

 

I don't like everything that I read by Neil Gaiman. But this book is one of my absolute favorites. Whether it was the callousness of the villains who'd harm a baby or the open-heartedness of the people whose hearts had stopped beating, I loved every bit. Weirdly, I found this book to be less dark than Coraline and that one was aimed at kids!

 

Another review here.

 

 

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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

 

Funny as heck and quite spontaneous. Most books in this series seem to be following no discernible plot. That becomes a turn off as you continue with the series. But the humor is good in this one and as long as I didn't binge, it made for an enjoyable read. Funnily enough, I have yet to meet someone who liked both the first book and the movie like I did.

 

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1984 by George Orwell

 

Another classic. I loved how authentic it felt and how dangerously close the real world teeters to becoming Orwellian. For a slim book, it takes some time to finish because it becomes a bit boring at certain times. My favorite parts were about the new dictionary that was being prepared. To a writer, no word is redundant because they all mean different things — even synonyms. Red isn't scarlet and neither is crimson. Reading about words just being unmade hurt the writer in me. But it has only made me appreciate my vocabulary. So, I am really glad that I read this one.

 

2012

 

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Wastes of Space by Darcy Town

 

Wow!
This book had me laughing out loud!
The humor kinda reminded me of the book, Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi.
I enjoyed every second I spent reading this book.
I wanted to hit Danny over the head for being so stubborn and getting Theo killed-nope, didn’t feel sorry for Keto even once!
I started to feel weird and grossed out when I first started liking the Hunters but they came through in the end.
Rake was..clean Rake was almost too much to take and I kept thinking, Poor Ravail, what have you gotten yourself into!
Ravail came a long way from being a scared kid to a woman who could mouth off to Rake!
The last scenes were hilarious– everybody ended up in space.
Can’t wait to read the next book!

 

 

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Something from the Nightside by Simon R. Green

 

I love the Nightside novels now but back when I just started reading it, it reminded me too much of Harry Dresden books. Almost gave up on them too, but thankfully, I developed this craving to read the next one in the series. These days, I prefer the Nightside to Dresdenverse!

 

More reviews here and here.

 

 

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Akhet by H.L. Reasby

 

** spoiler alert ** I received this book from Making Connections for free, in exchange of, an honest review. Get your copy here.

 

I really enjoyed this book for various reasons:
anything that has to do with mythology always attracts me and the author incorporated Egyptian mythology into this story beautifully.
the action begins with the first page and keeps going!
the story kept me interested throughout and it was the right length.
I liked how Nur/Nicole knew some things instinctively while she had to work to get better at others.
Another thing I liked about this book was that it can be read as a stand alone.
Looking forward to reading the next in the series.

 

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Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

 

A cute book about books. Read it for a bookish challenge and found out that it is a good book to relax with on a lazy day. I'll just say that it bogged down just a bit before the end. But it picked up its pace again quickly.

SPOILER ALERT!

Reading Anniversaries & First-in-a-Series — June Edition

 

Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on October 3, 2018.

 

 

2018

 

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Soulless: The Manga, Vol. 1 by Gail Carriger

 

Oh, this was such a pretty book! It stayed true to the story from the novels, making me laugh and fall in love with the series all over again. The art is just so manga-ey that you can’t help but like it.  My initial thoughts on reading it can be found here.

 

2015

 

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The Dresden Files: Storm Front, Volume 1: The Gathering Storm by Jim Butcher

 

Another novel converted to graphic novel format. While Ms. Carriger’s humor shines through in both novel formats, I didn’t find the same to be true for Butcher. Even so, if I can stick to this series with its problematic treatment of female characters, I can stomach the graphic novels too. Did that sound like somebody was forcing me to read them? Lol

 

2013

 

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Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson

 

Betsy came into my life when I needed a reprieve from the real world. She might be shallow and it might take her like 9 books to realize that, but she still makes me laugh. Her magnetic ability to attract trouble no matter where she goes reminds me of Mercy of the Mercedes Thompson fame. Her tenacity has shades of Kate Daniels from another favorite series of mine. But most of all, I love her for the way she sticks up for those she considers family!

 

 

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The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

 

This is one book that I wish I had found when I was a kid — or had been written back then. I think I’d have appreciated it more? Anyway, it has the charm of the Dahl books but there is a dark undercurrent to them that makes them scary. But in a good way. Fine job I’m doing of explaining why I like this series, right? But I do!

 

 

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The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

 

Gaiman’s books either wow me or they don’t i.e. there is no middle ground. But I never not like them. Does that make sense? For instance, I wasn’t a fan of American Gods but I loved Coraline and this one. TOATEOTL had this surreal feel to it that never let up. Despite being a short story, I felt like I connected with the characters in it too.

 

 

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Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon by Spider Robinson

 

This book has an old-timey sci-fi-ish feel to it that instantly resonated with me. I am also a fan of anthologies and short story compilations. To me, they present a varied meal where I sample different dishes and decide which ones i loved. Like most books of its genre and time, it isn’t overly long. Another plus in my case! I also reviewed the second book in this series.

 

2012

 

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The Emerald City by J.A. Beard

 

** spoiler alert ** This was such a refreshing book! Another YA novel that I’d recommend to those of us who aren’t too into them. The book had everything: a teenager who acted her age was smart and kicked butt-not dumb enough to dismiss the strange ongoings in her school like most YA protagonists would have done.characters that kept me interested throughout — Nick’s zombieness made him all the more fun and Lydia was cute. It had the right beginning and a balanced ending — the book wasn’t too long either.there were some spelling mistakes, yes.the humor was done just right. It was fun, witty and a quick read — I just couldn’t put the book down till I was done reading.

 

 

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Undermountain by Eric Kent Edstrom

 

** spoiler alert ** I got this book from Making Connections for free, in exchange of an honest review.The action started from the get-go and it never stopped.


It has been so long since I enjoyed a YA novel this much and didn’t end up wanting to hit every character over the head-well, maybe Shiv, at times!


My favorite character was Grizz for obvious reasons. TogYip were cute too.


The transformation that each teenager goes through by the end of their journey (as Harvin was kind to observe for us) made the story even better.


The romance or sprinklings of it was just the right amount.


There were a few spelling mistakes which I noticed though.


The descriptions of the city of Bigfeet were sufficient without being boring.I loved every bit of it!

2011

 

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The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht

 

Sadly, I don’t remember much about this one, just that I loved it. It was a simple, touching story about a family. That much I do remember!

 

So those were my faves from various Junes of various years. Hope you had fun reading about it!

SPOILER ALERT!

September 2018 — A Wrap-Up

 

Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on October 2, 2018.

 

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Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett

 

Like the two previous books in this series, this one was hilarious! Pratchett continues to amaze me by dealing with huge issues like gender discrimination in his own unique way:

“I can see you’ve been getting ideas below your station,” said Granny coldly.

 

As always, the humor was exquisite. Consider the following quote:

However, it is primarily a story about a world. Here it comes now. Watch closely, the special effects are quite expensive.

 

And this one:

“You’re wizards!” she screamed. “Bloody well wizz!”

 

I mean who even thinks of what a character would think if they were turned into an old palace. Pratchett, that’s who:

For the first time in her life, she knew what it was like to have balconies.

 

And then there was this one:

The light was misty and actinic, the sort of light to make Steven Spielberg reach for his copyright lawyer.

 

I also learned a new delicious word:

 

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Oh, and the writing was beautiful and witty, which is also characteristic Pratchett:

There should be a word for words that sound like things would sound like if they made a noise, he thought. The word ‘glisten’ does indeed gleam oilily, and if there was ever a word that sounded exactly the way sparks look as they creep across burned paper, or the way lights of cities would creep across the world if the whole of human civilization was crammed into one night, then you couldn’t do better than “coruscate.”

 

Granny was my favorite character. She dealt with sexist snobbish wizards with such aplomb and scolded sense into anyone who dared act crazy! More Pratchett love here.

 

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Undead and Unfinished by MaryJanice Davidson

 

Okay, okay. So it took Betsy almost ten books to realize how selfish she was. But at least, she owned up to it and then did something about it.

 

The book was funny:

And I was self-aware enough to realize that if I thought someone was being immature, it was time for them to reexamine their life.

 

It also had dark foreshadowing, which will form the plot of the future books. I am confident though if Betsy can survive her evil step-mom, dying, becoming a vampire, ruling over the bloodsuckers, marrying a selfish power hungry vampire and get him to fall in love with her, be sisters with the Devil’s daughter, adopt her own step-brother, prevent an all-out war with the shifters, and take down a villain or two, then she can handle whatever’s coming her way. Right?

 

 

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Time Travelers Strictly Cash by Spider Robinson

 

The good things about this compilation first. It had nuggets like this one:

One of the major agonies of reviewing is that you cannot recall an opinion which later reflection reveals to be fatheaded. There isn’t enough time for anything but snap judgments, and often you end up regretting them, and there’s no practical way to retract them.

 

I’m pretty sure seldom has a reviewer been this honest about their job and its drawbacks. Anyone who goes back and reads their reviews from before will agree with this point of view.

 

Then there were the stories with such beautiful one-liners, which is why I love the Time Travelers series:

And-and funny men are nicer lovers. They know about pain.

 

Not to forget brutal truths thrown in for good measures, like this one:

Of course one of the first concerns of a colonizing country is to properly condition the colonists. To ensure their loyalty. Because a colonist is supposed to give you the things you want to have in exchange for the things you want him to have, and for this golden opportunity he is supposed to be properly grateful. It wouldn’t do for him to get any treasonous ideas about his own destiny, his own goals.

 

Now for the bad part. This book doesn’t just contain the Callahan stories. It includes some reviews written by Robinson, a defense of Robert Heinlein, and other short stories not from the Callahan series. The so-called defense is long and drawn out and full of sexist, homophobic, and other negative comments. I skipped most of it.

 

The Callahan stories included:

 

Fivesight

The title is a play on the word foresight and is a sad but uplifting story about a character whose husband can see a few hours ahead into the future.

 

Dog Day Evening

This is the story of a German Shepherd, Ralph von Wau Wau, and it is exactly Callahan-tastic!

 

Have You Heard The One…?

This story is about a new character who comes to visit the saloon, Al Phee, and reveals the true nature of one of the regulars, Josie Bauer. Another fun one!

 

Mirror / rorriM Off The Wall

This story describes the events that befall Robert Trebor and how Callahan and the narrator, Jake, help him out.

 

The non-Callahan stories were:

 

God is an Iron

It is a story about how a thief and a drug addict save each other.

 

Soul Search

A woman tries to reawaken her mate to life from a cryogenic sleep. Things don’t go so well. The story’s focus is on what could make reincarnation possible

 

Local Champ

This represents Robinson’s rare attempts at writing a fantasy story. It is about a warlock who becomes all-powerful and immortal and how he meets his demise.

 

Serpents’ Teeth

Kid emancipation and parenting are the focus of this story. It was a miss for me.

 

 

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Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

 

Exhaustingly descriptive and maybe dated to some extent. I think if the pages spent by the author describing Manderley were removed, the result would be a fast-paced thriller. I didn’t mind that the author took her time unraveling the secrets surrounding the first wife’s death. It made the story exciting but I did mind when she spent pages and pages telling me about the garden and the rooms of the mansion. How awkwardly the second Mrs. De Winter tries to fill Rebecca’s shoes and her trials were described very well. It made you feel for her while remaining in awestruck by the glamorous creature Rebecca had been. How Rebecca’s nurse mentally tortured the girl and the rambling man by the beach only deepened my enjoyment of the mystery. But when De Winter finally confessed, I wanted to smack him hard. It took him this long to say that? Why did he make his wife suffer so much? The idiot! And when Manderley finally burned now, I was like good riddance!

 

 

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Nightlight by The Harvard Lampoon

 

A parody of the Twilight series. It had its laugh out loud moments, not because they were funny. They made me laugh because they accurately described how nonsensical certain things were in the original series. Bella looking after her parents instead of it being the other way around. Her thinking that all the guys were falling for her. I could go on and on, but I won’t…

 

 

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Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

 

If I was to name one pompous, pretentious book that glorified one era and was elitist as shit, I’d probably name this one! The protag is a geek, which made him better than everyone who met him. He is also a Mary Sue. He was singlemindedly solving the riddle when he suddenly just had to fall in love. The girl he fell for was introduced as an independent woman but by the end of the book, she had been successfully Hollywood-ized. There were dei ex machina of all kinds and the last one was obviously the worst. The villain’s character was cardboard thin and just in it for the money. He worked for an organization that was supposedly the worst, right? Then how come he kept failing and they never replaced him? What pissed me off, even more, was the fact that the book was marketed as YA. None of the targeted audience would have even existed in the eighties. Why add all those obscure references? Just to show off how knowledgeable the author is? Then why not write a non-fic about the subject? A quick read if you can ignore the glaring faults with this one!

 

 

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Megalodon & Prehistoric Sharks by Various Authors

 

Fun, informative book that made me thank my stars that I wasn’t born back then! Some of these bloodthirsty giants even counted the land amongst their hunting grounds. Yeesh! Check out some of the hair-raising illustrations below:

 

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Once Upon a Time Machine: Greek Gods and Legends

 

Icarus

A father-son team on a space voyage; guess which one doesn’t survive the trip?

 

Theseus and Metrotaurus

Theseus needs to board a train to meet his beloved. The metrotaurus isn’t having any of it!

 

Pandora

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The Slaying of the Pseudors (Odysseus)

Odysseus returns home to find aliens have taken over and turned his family into pterodactyl-like creatures. The rest, as they say, is history!

 

Footsteps (Hermes)

The divine messenger cannot survive going digital. Or can he?

 

Arachne

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Persephone

An alien heroine tries to convince her mother she loves Hades. A sad ending!

 

Hyperion

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Flying Horse Style (Pegasus)

Why even a chimera isn’t a match for Pegasus!

 

Aphrodite

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Daphne

Even a modern-day Zeus doesn’t know when to give up!

 

Minotaur

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Hades

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Andromeda

Andromeda isn’t going home and Perseus can go hang himself.

 

Eurydice

He tries to bring Eurydice back with a software.

 

The Muses

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Game Changers (Athena and Poseidon)

Game developers try to bring back their creation to order.

 

Away Mission (Actaeon)

A friendship that survives several alien transformations until it doesn’t!

 

The Twelve Labors of Mech-Detective Heracles

She doesn’t know how to give up!

 

Pygmalion

The classic tale, except this time, Galatea returns the favor!

 

A Heavy Stone for all the Peoples (Sisyphus)

A tale as old as time, but with a twist!

 

Eros

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Jason and the Argonauts

Gang wars break out over the golden fleece err jacket.

 

Metal Illiad

Achille’s exploits at the Battle of Troy turned into a comic strip.

 

Cerberus

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Cosmogony (Uranus)

The dominant species always ends up wrecking the world!

 

Ares

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The Long Bow (Telemachus)

Is it set in Ancient Greece or the modern times, who can tell? But Ulysses comes through for his son!

 

Zeus at Large

A comic strip about Zeus’ sexcapades.

 

Riddle of the Sphinx

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I loved all the illustrations and most of the stories in this comic compilation.

 

 

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Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros

 

I read this book for the Hispanic Heritage category in Book Bingo. It started off beautifully. The descriptions of how subtly — and not so subtly — different life was on both sides of the border were juicy and well written. I loved reading about the different generations of a family and how circumstances shaped their lives and nature. When the book began, the narrator calls her grandma, the Awful Grandmother. By the end of the book, she drops the awful, and you can see why. What turned me off was how the book dragged on needlessly when it could have been wrapped up at least 100 pages earlier. I realized early that there wouldn’t be a twist and I was right. Still, the story left me wanting.

 

 

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The Color Purple by Alice Walker

 

 

I have always wanted to read this book but haven’t been able to woman up for this task. Once I had bought a physical copy, I even picked it up. Got as far as the first page, which sets the tone of the book, and explains that it is going to be epistolary. The book found its way back on my bookshelf and languished there, it did. Until Book Bingo because I am friends with this kooky group of girls. We all have different reading tastes so any attempts at starting a book clubs have met with a failure of the bitchy sort. What we flock towards is Bingo because it allows us to read whatever the heck we want – provided it matches the description of a Bingo square. After several months or so, one of us – usually, this person of ill-repute – wails about Bingo. The rest of us say aye and so it begins like it began this time.

 

I read The Color Purple for my Banned Book square. A perfect choice because it has been banned many times and for various reasons. It is a book that breaks your heart but also reaffirms your faith in familial love. After all, it was the sisters’ love for each other that helped them survive the cruelties of fate. You’d start reading thinking that this book recounts a tale that isn’t unique in any way. You’d be right too if the author hadn’t used clever devices like broken grammar and failed to establish Celie’s voice. Besides the writing, I also liked that Celie didn’t get back with her husband. They remained friends but she had outgrown him, so it seemed right that she didn’t go back.

 

Another thing I liked was that this book showed women behaving like women usually do: being generous and compassionate, raising other women’s kids as their own, leaving home to fulfill their dreams, being stronger than the men, and refusing to give in when it mattered.

 

A few quotes from the book:

If he (God) ever listened to poor colored women the world would be a different place.

Shug: Why any woman give a shit what people think is a nystrey to me.
Grady:  A woman can’t git a man if peoples talk.
Shug look at me and us giggle. Then us laugh sure nuff.

 

I finished the book in a few hours. It was the perfect length!

 

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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

 

Two pages into the book and Christopher’s autistic nature made me fall in love with him. We might find his life complicated by certain behavioral quirks. But to him, life was quite straightforward. A particular number of red cars meant a Good Day and yellow ones meant a bad one. He had plans in place for a bad day and he followed them to the letter. What did throw him off were how people said one thing but meant another. Since he couldn’t lie or bluff, he found it difficult to interpret others’ behavior when they did that. It took a lot of work for him to match a person’s expression with past experiences stored in his mental database. An animal’s life held as much value for him as a human’s, which is why he decided to work out who murdered the neighbor’s dog. His parents loved him as best as they could but they were human and lost their temper at times. This book made me realize the importance of patience. The next time I run into someone who isn’t like everybody else, I hope I have the presence of mind and the compassion to exercise some patience and accept them for who they are!

Some Christopher wisdom for us all:

I think prime numbers are like life. They are very logical but you could never work out the rules, even if you speny all your time thinking about them.

If only we were all this smart, all the time!

 

So, that was my September in a nutshell. How was yours?

SPOILER ALERT!

August 2018 — A Wrap-Up

 

Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on September 23, 2018.

 

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Married by Morning by Lisa Kleypas

 

This series is light, entertaining, and satisfies all my once-in-a-blue-moon romance cravings. I know the setting and the characters are familiar. While they may be cut out from the same stencil: the guys are manly and stubborn and the ladies are quirky and non-traditional. These books are still fun to read! Here is my review of the previous book in this series.

 

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Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear

 

This was supposed to be a steampunk book but I didn’t see much of that genre in it. Besides that, I really enjoyed reading it and will definitely be picking up the next one. My only quibble with it is the same one that I have with the graphic novel, Saga. The inclusion of colored, queer, etc. characters for the sake of inclusion seems artificial to me. I dunno, maybe I’m not used to reading about them, which is why I feel this way. The solution would be to read more off-the-path books and see if I still feel this way. Don’t see anything wrong with having more books to read. Do you?

 

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Tea with the Black Dragon by R.A. MacAvoy

 

Ugh, this book frustrated me to no end. I don’t get why it was written in the first place. It wasn’t even interesting the way Tooth and Claw had been! If the story isn’t interesting but the characters are, that usually makes it up to me. When the characters are just plain boring or annoying too, nothing can redeem a book. It was true for this one. Fortunately, it was a small book!

 

So, I didn’t get much reading done in August and was late to post the wrap-up. Switching jobs will do that to ya!

SPOILER ALERT!

Reading Anniversaries & First-in-a-Series — May Edition

 

Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on August 24, 2018. 

 

2017

 

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The Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris

 

My review said it all but if it didn’t, check out my love for Loki here!

 

 

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The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

 

My review can be found here.

 

 

2015

 

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The Dinosaur Lords by Victor Milán

 

Find the review here!

 

2013

 

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The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

 

The Percy Jackson series remains a favorite. Here’s why

 

2012

 

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Urban Shaman by C. E. Murphy

 

My review of this series is here.

 

 

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Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi

Loved the book.

 

The humor was just my style-the way the Yherajk communicated was a hoot.

 

What I also liked was that even though the MC was a smartass, he wasn’t made out to be a jaded guy or an agent who took advantage of other people to survive.

 

I was expecting a romance between Tom and Michell but Miranda was a far better choice.

 

The book wasn’t too long but just the right length which always wins points with me. Joshua was my favorite character.

 

Loved how the ending/unveiling was handled, as well as how the whole Holocaust movie was dealt with.

SPOILER ALERT!

July 2018 — A Wrap Up

 

Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on August 19, 2018.

 

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Shifting Shadows: Stories from the World of Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs

 

“Silver”

I finally learned how Samuel and Bran became werewolves. The story is dark and violent but that seems fitting.

 

“Roses in Winter”

Asil, an aging werewolf in the Marrok’s pack is more man than beast. An innocent girl, Kara, begins to change all that.

 

“Redemption”

Ben has always been an interesting character in the Mercy series. He is misogynistic and can’t say two words without cursing. He also has a lot of baggage to deal with due to an abusive past. Yet he redeems himself in this story!

 

“Hollow”

I don’t really remember much about this one, except that it felt incomplete. Funny thing is that this one featured Mercy and I loved the one before this and the one before that.

 

“Fairy Gifts”

This is the story of Thomas the vampire who comes back home to repay a favor. I found it boring.

 

“Gray”

Elyna Gray is a vampire who must face the consequences of her actions when she killed the man she loved. Sad but interesting story.

 

“Alpha and Omega”

I have never really cared about the other series. This story takes us back to the first time Marrok’s son Charles met his wife Anna. I found it okayish. You can see the author’s uncertainty about the whole concept of Omega werewolves. She hasn’t gotten there yet and the story suffers for it.

 

“Seeing Eye”

A werewolf Tom meets a witch Moira. Gruesome things happen in this one but I liked it anyway. One thing that bothers me is why the author looks down on witches’ magic and the whole concept that it comes from pain and blood sacrifice. Even when she is describing white magic, it feels as if she is against it. Why though?

 

“The Star of David”

David Christiansen gets a family reunion that gives him a reason to continue living. Scary as heck but a feel-good story.

 

“In Red, with Pearls”

We are allowed to peek into the relationship that the werewolf Warren has with his boyfriend Kyle. While I love em both and together, I wasn’t a fan of this one. Warren was too overprotective of Kyle and not in a good way. I solved the identity of the person who hired the hit as soon as they were mentioned, which took the fun out of the story even more.

 

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Loki: Agent of Asgard, Vols. 1 & 2 by Al Ewing

 

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Classic Loki antics. Plans within plans within plans. I wasn’t crazy about this one but it wasn’t bad either. As usual, Loki is trying to do the right thing in the wrongest of ways and for worse reasons. We see a glimpse of the Avengers in the first one. The second featured Doctor Doom.

 

 

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Ms. Marvel, Vol. 8: Mecca by G. Willow Wilson

 

The humor characteristic of the series is seen in this volume too. Red Dagger shows up in Kamala’s playground. She celebrates Eid-ul-Azha. Kamala also runs away and finds out more people are supporting her and rooting for her than she thought. Captain Marvel makes an appearance and they patch up. In all, a fun installment. Can’t wait to read what happens next! Find my review of the previous volume here.

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The Wilds #1 & 2 by Vita Ayala

 

So, the premise is good. The U.S. plays host to a plague that is slowly turning people into plants. The art is beautiful and the confrontations with those human-plant hybrids are adequately terrifying. Of course, there is a government conspiracy going on that I suppose we’ll find out in about in the next issues. But there seems to be something missing. Mostly though, I couldn’t bring myself to care for any of the characters. That means I dunno if I will be picking up the next in the series.

 

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Moonshine, Vol. 1 by Brian Azzarello

 

A man who works for the mafia is sent to convince a rustic moonshine-maker. His boss wants to be the sole distributor of the amazing liquor. But when the poor guy reaches the place, strange things begin to happen. I liked the dark feel of the comic and the art too. Even so, like The Wilds, the something that would make me rip into the following issues eagerly isn’t there!

 

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Those Left Behind by Joss Whedon

 

The wittiness of the TV series is missing from the graphic novel. It was short and the end came abruptly. The artist translated the facial features of all characters with accuracy, except for Inara’s. She didn’t look right! I am still glad I bought this book because it came with an introduction by Nathan Fillion.

 

It seems I didn’t get much reading done in July and still managed to delay blogging about it. Shit happens! How was July for you?

 

 

SPOILER ALERT!

I Review Xenocide by Orson Scott Card

Xenocide - Orson Scott Card

 

Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on August 4, 2018.

 

I started reading this book at a weird time in my life. A loss that I’m still grieving and new changes make for bad companions. Those reasons could be why I enjoyed reading this book much more than I should have. You’ll see what I mean when I share the two contrasting views that I found myself taking while reading this story and reviewing it.

 

What I liked about this book

 

The two quotes about dealing with grief that hit hard

 

Grief is almost always for the mourner’s loss.

It got me wondering, was that the only reason I cried at my uncle’s funeral? And if it was, was it selfish of me to do so?

…that aching, hollow, half-panicked feeling returned. She isn’t here. I can’t just speak and have her answer. I can’t just ask and have her remember. I can’t just reach and feel her hand. And, most terrible of all: Perhaps I never will again.

While there isn’t a perhaps in my case, this eloquent quote says it all.

 

The two quotes that made me laugh

 

Does Mother know you’re going?

Please be practical, Miro. I have no fear of Satan, but Mother…

This is a conversation between two brothers. One of them is a priest and is going on a religious mission fraught with danger. Both are adults and the situation is a serious one but I have found and enjoyed such light humor in all Ender books.

You’re one tough son of a bitch, aren’t you?

Welders and smiths are tough. Sons of bitches have problems of their own.

Again, the same pair is conversing and the priest ends up swearing and impressing his brother.

 

Other 7 quotes that made this book more enjoyable

 

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What I didn’t like

 

Ender

Ender is quite annoying in this book. When he goes into non-space, he wishes his siblings into existence. One of them is dead, so maybe I could have swallowed that. Even though he is supposed to have created a hegemony and was the root of all evil in Ender’s life…yeah maybe I wouldn’t have bought this one either.

 

The other one is alive and with him yet he chooses to bring a younger version of her back to life. And don’t even get me started on the squickiness of how innocent and beautiful he makes her. Sister, dude. She is your sister, you creep! If this was just done so the author could have characters to base his next novel on, it is a shitty move. Shitty. Move.

 

Ender also seems to have found religion in this book. This is contradictory to the way his character was in the first two books. In fact, the whole heavyhanded way of dealing with religion was odd. There were the piggies — an alien race who were brought to Christianity. Then there was this throwaway line in the book about couples who aren’t interested in premarital sex are the ones that make the society more stable.

 

Miro

 

Another thing that weirded me out was Miro’s miraculous transformation. From the very beginning, we are shown that he is very bitter on account of being handicapped. That is a very ableist stance. Then we see him changing as he stops isolating himself and stops a bloody riot from getting even bloodier. This was a tad more positive but it was ruined when he goes into non-space and comes back healed. What did it all even mean? What purpose did his character serve?

 

The Rest of the Family

 

Irritating and squabbling for no reason. I wanted to smack them all at least once. Another thing that bothered me was that in the previous book, they were the odd ones out. In this one, they have magically become all-important. Xenologists, priests, physicists and brickmakers, almost all of them have a say in how the planet should be run. And even though they are all adults and professionals, most of them behave like toddlers with no regard for the consequences of their actions. What’s more, when one of them is giving all the indications that they will be acting stupidly, the others (and the rest of the planet) do nothing to stop them. Then there is an uproar after the stupid thing is done!

 

Wang Mu

 

A seemingly minor character who starts as a slave and then becomes the source of the cure for a whole population, Wang Mu was irritating at times but bearable. Then all of a sudden, she is fangirling over the long-dead Hegemon. That isn’t all though. The long-dead Hegemon is then recreated by his brother, visits Wang Mu, and flies away with her to take over the world. What is even happening? How much of my disbelief should I be suspending? Like all of it?

 

Deus Ex Machina

 

Faster than light travel isn’t possible. Hundreds of scientists have said so. Yet a physicist jailed for instigating a mob and his brickmaker brother come up with a solution i.e. a supercomputer can wish it into existence by holding the image in her mind. Wait, I am not done yet. While that is happening, the xenologist sister of theirs will hold the image of two things in her mind that will solve all their problems.

 

So, this is what I thought of the book. Feel free to share your thoughts!

 

You can find reviews of book one and two here.

Novellas in Paperback!

Reblogged from Carpe Librum:

For those who have been patiently waiting, the paperback volume of my novellas is here!

 

 

This paperback edition includes:

The Last Lancastrian: A Story of Margaret Beaufort

Once a Queen: A Story of Elizabeth Woodville

and 

Prince of York: A Story of Reginald Pole

Source: http://mybook.to/Novellas
SPOILER ALERT!

Reading Anniversaries & First-in-a-Series — April Edition

 

I know I am way behind schedule but I have been really busy what with switching jobs, earning money, and losing an important my mamujan (maternal uncle) to Parkinson’s! Please bear with me…

 

2014

 

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Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews

 

So, this is weird. I didn’t have many good reads during the past Aprils. Hopefully, that will change in the future. This book stood out because I read it while still following the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. The husband-wife duo seemed to write a book that made me like the main leads again — even if I didn’t fall in love with them the way I did with Kate & Curran and still haven’t!

 

 

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The Year-God’s Daughter by Rebecca Lochlann

 

 

Find my review here.

 

2013

 

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Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

 

Witty characters, a female protagonist, Victorian sensibilities, and impossible situations, this book should have been an instant favorite of mine. It wasn’t! Maybe, it didn’t capture my interest because I read it after finishing The Parasol Protectorate series. It could also be a lack of hilarious courtship between the protags that made it less interesting.

 

Whatever it was, I am glad I continued because the subsequent books are better.

 

 

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The Forever War by Joe Haldeman

 

It has been 5 years since I read this book, so I don’t remember much. What did remain behind was the authentic display of the life of a soldier. It was that and not the story that made me go out and buy the omnibus edition. And it won’t be anything else that will get me to read the graphic novel version either!

 

P.S. I reviewed the prequel here and the second in the series (via infographic– it has skulls in it, so you might wanna check it out) here.

 

 

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The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

 

When I read this book, I felt as if I’d read something that had shades of both Wilde and Dahl. I still feel the same about the subsequent books in this series. There is nonsensical fun and razor-sharp wit that makes me want to keep reading. They aren’t overly long either, so that is another plus. Of course, the protagonist being female and used to fighting her own battles doesn’t detract the reader from its beauty. If I remember correctly, this one featured a villain who had no ulterior motives — he only wanted to destroy the world!

 

More praises here and here

 

For the books read in 2017 and 2018, you know where to go…

#47 Follow Friday with book bloggers: JL's Bibliomania

Reblogged from BookLikes:

 

Hello Friday! Hello Follow Friday with book bloggers! Today let's meet Julia. You need to keep on reading to see those shelfies! :D

 

Follow JL's Bibliomania on BookLikes: http://jlsbibliomania.booklikes.com/

 

 

What are you reading right now? How do you like it?

 

 

I’m reading three things as I write these responses:

 

Heaven's Queen by Rachel Bach, which is the concluding volume of a lighthearted romp of a Space Opera featuring a girl and her big gun.

 

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, which is the story of how Marie- Laure, a blind French Girl, and Werner, a German Orphan, converge in the French town of San-Malo near the end of the 2nd World War.  Slower moving, especially as an audiobook.

 

The Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions by Thomas McNamee, which is the current selection for the Flat Book Society.  OK so far, but recently I’ve been struggling with sustained attention to non-fiction.

 

Heaven's Queen - Rachel BachAll the Light We Cannot See: A Novel - Anthony Doerr, Zach AppelmanThe Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions - Thomas McNamee

 

READ & JOIN THE BOOK CLUB ->

 

However, I expect that by the time this is published, I will have finished Heaven’s Queen and moved on to another piece of fiction

 

 

When have you discovered you’re a book lover?

 

If this question is asking when did I (first) discover I was a book lover the answer is: When books were replacing my non-existent friends in Elementary and Middle School and I was devouring a book an afternoon.

 

 

Why reading is important to you?

 

Because I like how reading fills the spaces in my head. Because I crave the escape it offers.

 

Follow jlsbibliomania.booklikes.com

 

 

Which books are you most excited recommending to your followers?

 

I’m currently excited about The Hate U Give, which is getting a lot of buzz, and does a great job personalizing the questions behind the Black Lives Matter (Movie due to release in October)

 

I discovered Maggie Stiefvater relatively recently and loved The Raven Boys and the sequels as an audiobook.  

 

I read them a long time ago and the details have faded, but I think Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay is essential reading.  

 

I also love CJ Cherryh’s work.While a bit older, I particularly like how the Faded Sun Trilogy and Forty Thousand in Gehenna wrestle with the idea of being the “Other” and of becoming the bridge between human and alien.

 

The Hate U Give - Angie ThomasThe Raven Boys - Maggie Stiefvater,Will PattonTigana - Guy Gavriel Kay

The Faded Sun Trilogy - C.J. CherryhForty Thousand in Gehenna - C.J. Cherryh

 

 

In your bio you write: “Daughter of a Bookaholic. Wife of a Bibliovore.  Mother of 2 Bibliophiles” Did your family had an influence on your reading passion, and how do you encourage your kids to keep on reading?

 

My parents really didn’t watch television much and were always reading, particularly my Dad who always has a book or 3 going, typically Space Opera or military SF.  My parents definitely had an influence on my reading passion by always having books around, and nurtured my love of SF by handing me Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonsong when I was in Jr. High and complaining that I was bored and out of things to read.

 

This is going to sound trite (or like stock advice), but when my kids were little my husband and I read to our sons, always had a rotating stock of library books around that were age and reading-level appropriate geared towards their passion of the moment, and modeled reading because we often had a book of our own with us. We were lucky. My older son dove into Richard Scarry partway through kindergarten, my younger son got lost in the Warriors series in 3rd grade and we really haven’t had to do much to encouraging since.  

 

Richard Scarry's What Do People Do All Day? - Richard ScarryWarriors #1: Into the Wild - Erin Hunter

 

 

Do you read one book or several at a time?

 

As you can see by the answer to question 1, I typically read several books at a time.

- 1 fiction in print or ebook,

- 1 audiobook for the car,

- and sometimes a non-fiction. 

 

But the print book and the audiobook have to be different genres for me to keep track, which is fine because I like to mix things up.

 

BookLikes Shelf

 

 

Do you review all books you read? How does your review process look like?

 

I don’t review everything I read.  I write when I have something to say and when time permits (and as you can see by the fewer and shorter reviews recently, time has recently been in short supply so I haven’t been as active). 

 

I’m more of a book diarist than a book reviewer.  I started tracking on Goodreads and blogging about books to help myself remember what I’ve read.  I consider what I write to be book reactions rather than truly reviews, which is why many of my entries are a short paragraph or less, and I almost never include a synopsis of the plot. I try not to look at too many reviews before I read a book, but often look at the book page here and at other book-review sites after I finish.  I typically dash off a draft over the weekend, ask my husband to copy edit it, then post the following day.  

 

 

Your Shelf presents many audiobooks. Do you experience the book differently while listening to it instead of reading?

 

I do experience stories differently when I listen to them. Listening to an audiobook forces you to move at the narrator’s pace, which means that you can’t read too fast and miss details.  Sometimes that’s an advantage, and sometimes that leads to tedium.

 

I’m also not one who easily builds a concrete picture of what the characters look like, or imagines what they sound like.  The audiobook narrator often fills in that gap for me, especially the recent productions that turn books almost into audio plays by using multiple readers.

 

The experience of reading an audiobook is also different for me because I mostly listen to them in the car, while I’m driving. A story is different when experienced in 15-30 minute chunks, and with distractions.

 

2018 Reading Challenge Page

 

 

A library or a bookstore?

Definitely a library!

 

While my husband and I spent many pleasant hours in used book stores as a teen and young adult (hence the collection in the basement), we almost entirely stopped buying books as part of the financial adjustment after buying our first house. We are lucky to live in an area with good libraries and I get more than 90% of what I read from the local county library consortium. 

 

 

Your favorite genres are fantasy and sci-fi. Why are they so special?

 

 

SF and fantasy were initially appealing to me because of the escapism. If you’re not happy in mundane reality, SF and fantasy provide ample opportunities to imagine being a heroine elsewhere. 

 

Now I find that SF and fantasy are special in the way that they pose questions about what makes us human.

 

 

What are your three favorite book covers?

 

I'll admit that I hate the share 3 book-covers question since doing most of my book “shopping” in the online library catalog, the cover isn't really something I pay much attention to. However, there’s a strong tradition of SF-related artwork. So instead of book covers I’d like to share 3 of the signed, numbered SF-related prints that I’ve bought at conventions over the years. 

 

Menolly by Robin Wood, originally included in The People of Pern http://www.robinwood.com/Catalog/Prints/PrintPages/Menolly.html

 

 

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Virginia Poyser.  Victoria is currently working under her married name of Virginia Lisi and no longer focusing on SF-related art.  I couldn’t find a good copy of this picture online, but her website is https://victoria-lisi.pixels.com/

 

 

A Stitch in Time by David Cherry (brother of  CJ Cherryh)

https://davidcherryart.com/prints/a-stitch-in-time/  I don’t believe this piece is connected to a specific book, but it appealed to me as someone who occasionally stitches.

 

 

 

A paper book or an e-book?

 

When I’m home, I’m a traditionalist and prefer paper.  When I’m travelling, or when the library only has the ebook, I’ll happily reach for the e-reader for novels. I dislike non-fiction and graphic novels as e-books. 

 

 

Three titles for a holiday break?

 

 

Did I say that I hate giving recommendations?

 

Fortune's Pawn by Rachel Bach  and the sequels (though it looks like others who tried it here on BL haven’t liked it much)

 

When Dimple Met Rishi – light realistic fiction YA – definitely recommend the audiobook.

 

The Rook by Daniel O'Malley. Suggested in honor of the Summer of Spies.

 

 

Favorite quote?

 

My absolutely favorite quote is

Life is uncertain, eat dessert first.

(Often misremembered as – Life is short, Eat dessert first)

And when I was in college I spent several years doing just that.

 

Despite coming late to canine ownership, my favorite bookish quote is

Outside of a book, a dog is man’s best friend

Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read

 

Shelfie time! Please share your home library photos :)

 

The first two pictures are of the two bookcases in the living-room, which contain cookbooks, religion reference works and library books. Life has been so much easier, with many fewer desperate searches for the overdue or missing books since we cleared off shelves a shelf for me and a shelf for my sons to keep our library book in the right hand case.

 

 

The last picture is of a few of the 13 bookcases in the basement library.  We’re in the middle of re-sorting/re-shelving/trimming the collection as we recently decided to store all fiction alphabetically by author and to stop trying to sort by genre.  And while the basement is mostly fiction, there are 2 ceiling high cases full of my husband’s history references.

 

 

 

 

Thank you! 

 

*

 

Have you missed previous Follow Friday talks? Use ffwithbookbloggers tag or click the interviews catch up links below: 

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Reblogged from Hol:

New Release! Prince of York: A Story of Reginald Pole

Reblogged from Carpe Librum:

I am so excited for this day! Reginald Pole has been the most fascinating person that I have had the pleasure to study. I admire him in so many ways, and, while part of me wishes he had been a bit more ambitious, another part has to admit that is one of the characteristics that makes him so honorable. I hope that you enjoy reading this novella as much as I enjoyed writing it!

 

 

 

Source: http://mybook.to/PrinceOfYork

6 scary books for Friday the 13th

Reblogged from BookLikes:

 

Read them if you date! Challenge accepted? 

 

Unnatural Creatures

Buy it ->

Unnatural Creatures is a collection of short stories about the fantastical things that exist only in our minds—collected and introduced by beloved New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman. The sixteen stories gathered by Gaiman, winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards, range from the whimsical to the terrifying. The magical creatures range from werewolves to sunbirds to beings never before classified.

 

Review by Lora's Rants and Reviews

 

This is a collection of mostly excellent stories edited by Neil Gaiman. Naturally the quality of writing is set to a high bar and I enjoyed most of them very much... continue reading

 

 

Broken on the Inside - Phil Sloman 

Buy it ->

Phil Sloman’s BROKEN ON THE INSIDE presents a quintet of macabre mentality in: Broken on the Inside; Discomfort Food; The Man Who Fed the Foxes; There Was an Old Man; and Virtually Famous.

 

Review by Char's Horror Corner

These stories were all heavy hitters and combined, make up this powerful narrative as a whole. I enjoyed it as entertaining storytelling on one level, but it also caused me to think deeply about life as we know it and how we go about living that life. Every single person in this book had problems-addictions and obsessions. They were broken on the inside. This led me to thinking about the people I know and even myself. Aren't we all BROKEN ON THE INSIDE in one way or another?... continue reading

 

 

They Feed - Jason Parent 

Buy it ->

A troubled man enters a dusky park before sunset. A young woman follows, hidden in shadow. Both have returned to the park to take back something the past has stolen from them, to make right six long years of suffering, and to find justice or perhaps redemption—or maybe they'll settle for some old-fashioned revenge. But something evil is alive and awake in those woods, creatures that care nothing for human motivations. They’re driven by their own insatiable need: a ravenous, bottomless hunger. The campgrounds are full tonight, and the creatures are starving. Before the night is over, they will feed.

 

Review by sherrysniderfundin:

OMG. Everything, the title, cover, the woods…makes me eager to begin my ‘hike’ through the pages of They Feed by Jason Parent. I am a huge fan of Jason Parent and his ability to scare the bejesus out of me. He did not fail to do so in They Feed. I love book covers with the trees and woods on them and this cover is so eerie, I know there is some badness in them there woods... continue reading

 

 

Final Girls - Riley Sager 

Buy it ->

Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie-scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to--a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout's knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them and, with that, one another. Despite the media's attempts, they never meet.

 

Review by christina's book corner:

This book was crazy this is about Quincy and 10 years ago escaped being killed while all her friends died at pine cottage then one of the final girls died and another final girl shows up at her door. who is kinda fucked up and tries to get Quincy to deal with her pain of pine cottage . I loved how it had flashbacks to pine cottage going up to the killing of her friends and I will say I did not see what came coming... continue reading

 

 

Obscura - Joe Hart 

Buy it ->

In the near future, an aggressive and terrifying new form of dementia is affecting victims of all ages. The cause is unknown, and the symptoms are disturbing. Dr. Gillian Ryan is on the cutting edge of research and desperately determined to find a cure. She’s already lost her husband to the disease, and now her young daughter is slowly succumbing as well. After losing her funding, she is given the unique opportunity to expand her research. She will travel with a NASA team to a space station where the crew has been stricken with symptoms of a similar inexplicable psychosis—memory loss, trances, and violent, uncontrollable impulses. Crippled by a secret addiction and suffering from creeping paranoia, Gillian finds her journey becoming a nightmare as unexplainable and violent events plague the mission.

 

Review by Andreya's Asylum:

This book. This book is worth the hype. All of it. I had no clue what it was about going into it, which as someone who has read way too many reviews that give away the entire premise, I considered a win. I like Joe Hart, possibly because I may have confused one of his books with Joe Hill when I bought it, and liked it anyway. I knew that he could write with The Exorcism of Sara May. I've realized that he is on my must-read list after this.

Obscura hits all of the right notes in all of the right areas, which is a real diamond amongst books... continue reading

 

 

Survive the Night - Danielle Vega 

Buy it ->

Stephen King meets Pretty Little Liars in this pulse-pounding novel from the author of The Merciless. Just back from rehab, Casey regrets letting her friends Shana, Julie, and Aya talk her into coming to Survive the Night, an all-night, underground rave in a New York City subway tunnel. Surrounded by frightening drugs and menacing strangers, Casey doesn’t think Survive the Night could get any worse...until she comes across Julie’s mutilated body in a dank, black subway tunnel, red-eyed rats nibbling at her fingers. Casey thought she was just off with some guy—no one could hear her getting torn apart over the sound of pulsing music. And by the time they get back to the party, everyone is gone.

 

Review by Hooked on Books:

 

That was pretty intense... Great book if you like YA monster horror.

 

 

Share you scary book recommendations! 

 

Happy Friday the 13th!

 

Currently reading

My Cousin Rachel
Daphne du Maurier
Progress: 36%
Dracula Audiobook (Timeless Classics)
Bram Stoker
Hellblazer n. 3
Jamie Delano, John Ridgway
Seven Seasons of Buffy: Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors Discuss Their Favorite Television Show (Smart Pop series)
Yellow Blue Tibia
Adam Roberts
The Bone Season
Samantha Shannon
Her Fearful Symmetry
Audrey Niffenegger
The Poisonwood Bible
Barbara Kingsolver
Progress: 53%

Midu’s quotes


Goodreads Quotes

Midu's bookshelf: read

Kingdom Come
3 of 5 stars
tagged: graphic-novel, read-in-2015, and 1997
A Mere Formality
4 of 5 stars
tagged: missing-shelf, read-in-2015, shorts, singles, and 2008
Chickenfeed
3 of 5 stars
tagged: premissing, uk-author, 2006, read-in-2015, serial-killers-and-other...
Dark Blood
1 of 5 stars
tagged: missing-shelf, 2014, abuse, read-in-2015, series, and middlers

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