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review 2017-11-20 23:22
Broken Homes ★★★★☆
Broken Homes: A Rivers of London Novel - Ben Aaronovitch,Kobna Holdbrook-Smith

This installment in the Peter Grant series was so much fun and the plot twist at the end was so unexpected and exciting that I rushed right into the next book in the series, which wasn’t at all on my planned TBR list. And in my excitement, I originally put a 5 star rating on the book, but after further reflection am bringing it down to 4 stars, because there were a few problems with the story. It was a little discombobulated at first, with episodes so seemingly unconnected that I did have some trouble tying them all together at the end. I’m also, on reflection, a little unsure about The Faceless Man’s objective with the Skygarden Tower and its relation to the 

magic battery function

(spoiler show)

 that Peter has discovered. To be fair, it’s entirely possible that I missed some of this, because I was glued to the audio while also trying to run errands and finish shopping in anticipation of the Thanksgiving holiday demands this week – not the optimal kind of multitasking that lends itself well to catching clues and parsing complicated plot points. I suspect that, once I get caught up on the series on audio – because I have every intention of continuing to experience them through Kobna Holdbrook-Smith’s fabulous narration – I’ll probably pick up the text version and re-read them, to better immerse in the world-building and location details that can be missed on audio and a first read.

 

But I loved this book for all the same reasons that I’ve loved the others in the series – the interesting cast of characters, including some strong women of both good, evil, and in-between varieties, the strong sense of location, the fun magical world, and the humorous observations of both society and policing.

 

Audio, via Audible. As noted, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith’s performance is masterful.

 

I read this for The 16 Tasks of the Festive Season, Square 5: Book themes for Advent: Read a book with a wreath or with pines or fir trees on the cover –OR– Read the 4th book from a favorite series, or a book featuring 4 siblings. Broken Homes is the 4th book in the Peter Grant series. 

 

 

Previous Updates:

11/17/17 26%

The powers that be made a concerted effort to rid London of its working class. The city was rapidly losing its industry, and the large numbers of servants who were needed for the Edwardian households were being superseded by the technological wonders of the Age of White Goods. London just didn't need that many poor people anymore.

 

11/18/17 100%

On the audio side, I had to DNF My Brilliant Friend on Thursday because it was booooorrrrrinnnngggg and then I decided on Broken Homes for the Advent square and OH MY GOD that plot twist at the end made me spend another Audible credit so I could jump right into Foxglove Summer.

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text 2017-11-20 23:12
My Brilliant Friend ★★☆☆☆
My Brilliant Friend - Elena Ferrante,Ann Goldstein

I really wanted to like this, and stuck with it much longer than I ordinarily would have, hoping that at some point I would just fall into the story. It wasn't terrible, and it had moments of description or character that I enjoyed. But the story simply wasn't going anywhere, and the characters were not interesting enough to carry it along while waiting for some kind of plot to happen. DNF at 32%

 

Audiobook, borrowed from my public library. I don't know if it was the narrator's reading or the source material, but the audio performance contributed to my abandoning the book unfinished. Her voice just kept droning on and on, until I'd realize that my attention had wandered and I had to rewind. After almost 6 hours of listening, I just couldn't face another 12 of the same.

 

I was reading this for The 16 Festive Tasks square 7: International Human Rights Day: Read a book originally written in another language. I don't have another book lined up for this one. I might find a "Light Joker" to use instead.

 

Since I couldn't use this one for any of the squares, I decided to make my own square:

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review 2017-11-20 23:12
The Ocean at the End of the Lane (Audiobook)
The Ocean at the End of the Lane - Neil Gaiman

Can a pond be an ocean?

 

This isn't the best that Gaiman's ever written, but it's still filled with his delightful prose and vivid imagination. The boy who is the POV character is more of a witness to the events around him, even while he's the unwitting reason for many of them. Leti, her mom and grandmother are as mysterious as they are fascinating. Since the boy isn't really given many answers, a lot goes unresolved or hinted at, but it's the adventure that this boy goes through that matters. 

 

Neil Gaiman narrated this and I could honestly listen to him read the telephone book, so full marks for the narration.

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review 2017-11-20 22:13
The Nine Lives of Christmas ★★☆☆☆
The Nine Lives of Christmas - Sheila Roberts

The premise for this story sounded adorable, and this really could have been a fun, light read. I can absolutely see this being made as a Hallmark movie. As both a Romance and as a Christmas story, it failed for me, though, and I don’t see any other reason for reading this book. As a Romance, it was full of those tired old tropes that are the worst representation of the genre, and the internal logic just didn’t hold up. Shy, sweet heroine who thinks she’s plain, even though she only needs new clothes and makeup to become a total hottie? Check! Handsome, hypermasculine hero who has been so hurt by women in the past that he’s a commitment-phobe who only dates unmarriageable women, but is secretly a sweet teddy-bear who only needs the Right Girl to teach him the value of True Love? Check! Slutty mean beautiful rich girlfriend to serve as the villainess to keep our lovebirds apart? Check!

 

I just couldn’t like either of our protagonists. The heroine is far too passive and so lacking in common sense logic that I just can’t buy that she’s smart enough to have been admitted to vet school. The hero literally only thinks of adult women as either “good-timing bimbos” or “nice girls you take to the altar”. Throughout the entire book, he only thinks of them with regards to what they can do for him, either sexually or as support systems.

 

 As a Christmas story, I suppose the message is about family togetherness? Because he’s forced by circumstances and basic common decency 

to take in his mother and stepsisters, so he has to finally listen when she talks to him, and forgives her?

(spoiler show)

Really, this is just set at Christmas time, so has the trappings of the season.

 

Audiobook, borrowed from my public library, with a very good performance by Kathleen McInerney. I read this for The 16 Tasks of the Festive Season square 2: Guy Fawkes Night: Any book about the English monarchy (any genre), political treason, political thrillers, or where fire is a major theme, or fire is on the cover. There is a fire in the fireplace on the cover art.

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review 2017-11-19 18:47
Review: "Kidnapped by the Pirate" by Keira Andrews
Kidnapped by the Pirate: Gay Romance - Keira Andrews

 

~ 5 STARS ~

 

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