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Search tags: 3-5-stars
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review 2017-03-28 03:22
Wizard's Holiday
Wizard's Holiday - Diane Duane

The first 70% of this wizard-exchange holiday was everything you'd expect of alien wizards visiting and getting to know other worlds and cultures: good, wacky fun; some clashing of worlds; and nice, relaxing kickback time at the beach. The last 30% proves that there's no such thing as a holiday for our poor wizards.

 

 

The pacing did feel a little off on this one, and with Nita and Kit's half of the story in particular, the resolution almost feels like it comes out of nowhere. I'm sure there are hints there that I didn't pick up on, but it felt random. 

 

I did love all the exchange wizards, especially Filif, and even Roshaun grew on me (though he's still a douche). It was great to see Dairine's growth since the start of this series, and in this book particularly as she deals with the massive drop in her power levels and having to do wizardry the "regular" way. Seeing her and Harry get some bonding time after the events of the last couple of books was nice too.

 

There were a few dangling threads at the end of this, no doubt set up for the next book, and while the main conflicts are resolved, the ending felt abrupt.

 

This isn't my favorite Young Wizards book, but it's still a lot of fun.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-03-25 05:03
Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit
Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit - Jaye Robin Brown

Word of Caution: If you hate the Big Misunderstanding trope, then avoid this book, because the entire thing hinges on it. Not only is it a "big misunderstanding" but it's perpetuated by one character consistently lying to everyone, and not even for a very good reason. Well, she thinks it's a good reason. Me? Not so much.

 

This is the second F/F book in a row with a punk lesbian. I guess this is a common enough thing to already be a recognizable trope? Aren't there country-loving lesbians? Or jazz-loving lesbians? Or hip-hop loving lesbians? WHERE ARE MY HIP-HOP LESBIANS?

 

But seriously, this book is both complicated and simple. It's told in a simple, rather straightforward way that rarely delves into the depths that this book could easy delve into given the subject matter, mainly how do LGBTQ+ individuals who need faith in their lives deal with the hurtful messages that too many churches STILL put out there because they're stuck in medieval times. I was looking forward to that aspect of it, because too often the one sole religious person in M/M books often acts like he or she could be an offshoot of the Westboro Church family tree. I know many people of faith, some who are close-minded in that way, but others who really embrace Jesus's teachings about acceptance and loving each other without judgment. So let's look at both sides of the spectrum and everything else in between here, right?! Except it never really happens. *sigh*

 

Jo's dad, who runs his own evangelical radio show, accepted his daughter without hesitation when she came out to him. And now that he's remarried and his new MIL has a stick up her butt about EVERYTHING, and because they've moved to a more conservative, smaller town, he asks Jo to lay low. That is, go back in the closet. And she agrees. So she can get her own radio show that she unironically calls "Keep It Real." I say unironically because she's completely unaware of the irony of the title while she's lying about herself to everyone around her. 

 

Except one boy she meets and befriends. She tells him immediately. Which pretty much pulls the rug out from under her every other time she tries to explain to herself why she can't tell the truth to her girlfriend she's so super in love with. Oh, no! Can't do that! And it leads to one ridiculous, cliched "twist" after another until I just wanted to smack her Cher-style.

 

 

Oh, Cher. Where are you when we need you most?

 

I do like the various different characters. There's a weird subplot with Dana. It was nice to see how Joanna and Elizabeth eventually work out their issues. When Joanna does finally stand up for herself, that's pretty great too but comes a bit too late in the story, so that everything after that is rushed. Joanna overall is a passive character and except for that one moment of backbone, she never really stops being passive. Barnum was great, as were George and Gemma. The pastor of the other church, the not-friendly-to-gays one, has this weird quasi-transformation, maybe? It doesn't really go anywhere. 

 

So I guess there's a hopeful message in here. And I guess this is eventually about being true to yourself, even when that self isn't who you originally thought it was. But for each thing I found to like, there was another thing that annoyed me in equal measure.

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review 2017-03-22 02:33
Theft of Swords
Theft of Swords - Michael J. Sullivan,Tim Gerard Reynolds

One of my friends described this series as fantasy-lite and boy is it ever. Hadrian and Royce are fun protags, but the stories are on the thin side. 

 

I didn't realize this volume has two different stories, so I was getting annoyed at how quickly the first story appeared to be resolving itself. But even after realizing what was going on, the writing and resolution of the first story is still too reliant on villain monologues. The story didn't take any unexpected twists and the characters don't have much depth. The second story was somewhat better in construction and the way it was paced. The fantasy elements are slow to be integrated, maybe to ease the reader into the world? Though I'm not sure why a fantasy fan would need such easing. (Ok, GRRM is on the feet-dragging side of this too, but his characters and their various relationships are complex and complicated, and the world they live in feels real. And even when the villains reveal things, you can't be sure they're telling the truth.)

 

The narrator has that fantasy-type voice which works well with the narration, but he doesn't have much range on the voices. A lot of the characters start sounding the same after awhile.

 

These are decent stories and fun, but I can't say I'm tempted to continue. I did pick up The Crown Tower during Audible's last sale, so I'll try that one next and see if some of these issues get improved upon or not. 

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review 2017-03-09 01:36
Tipping the Velvet
Tipping the Velvet - Sarah Waters

This was well-written and well-narrated by Juanita McMahon, just like Fingersmith was, but it didn't quite grab me the way Fingersmith did. Nancy King and her plights and travails through London on her quest to find herself, love and acceptance are all just a little too over the top for me. And talk about your coinkydinks! The last chapter especially was loaded with them. Maybe Waters was doing a final curtain call thing, but it was a bit too much, ya know?

 

I do like Nan's tenacity to keep going and never get knocked down no matter what life threw at her, and it was an interesting journey through London in the late 1800s, when things were still very dangerous for LGBT people. I didn't always understand why Nan made some of the decisions she made. They at times felt kind of generic, like she needed to make x decision so the story could go to y plot line, and the story just kind of meandered at points. 

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review 2017-03-06 13:18
The Grand Sophy ★★★☆☆
The Grand Sophy - Georgette Heyer

I have to agree with pretty much all the male characters in this story: Sophie is a terrifying woman. Well-intentioned, but a sly and manipulative busybody. A number of her schemes depend on luck, especially her dangerous games with horses. Still, it’s a fun story, and I really enjoyed everyone getting their hearts’ desire in the end, even people who don’t deserve it.

 

I subtracted a star for the disgustingly bigoted portrayal of the Jewish moneylender. I try to judge books with respect to the social attitudes of the time in which they were written, but this was written as a historical romance in 1950, not 1590.

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