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review 2020-05-31 18:54
Dear Life ★★★★☆
Dear Life: Stories - Alice Munro

I don't think I could do this book of short stories justice with a review. Munro writes stories about ordinary people in everyday situations that are a turning point in their lives. To have an affair, to stay or leave, to wait or act, to be silent or speak. She writes without any literary tricks and often at a remove from the characters, but each story still pulled at me in some way. 

 

Paperback. I discovered Munro while vacationing at a rental beach house and had finished the book I had brought with me, so was browsing the completely random selections on the bookshelves. I didn't get to read more than the first story in this collection, but it was enough to know that I needed to have a copy for myself. 

 

I read this book for Booklikesopoly 2020, lot Mountain Cabin 15: Read a book with a tree or a mountain on the cover, or read a book that features a main character who is a father. This book has a tree (or tree trunk, I guess) on the cover with a woodsy background.

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review 2020-05-31 16:18
The Deep ★★★☆☆
The Deep - Alma Katsu

This book was kind of a mess. It was intriguing enough to keep me going to the end, but after it was over, my only thought was, "well, that's over". It had so many good reviews that I wanted to like it, but even with a generously open mind, I found it mostly annoying. 

 

The problem, for me, is it didn't know what kind of story it wanted to be. A well-researched,  fictional accounting of true historical events and real historical characters? A ghost story? A mystery? A romance? An unreliable narrator with a disturbed mind? I think it could have been any of these things, and done it well, if the author had just committed to a couple of these concepts. But she tried to do it all, and it just didn't work for me. I spent most of the time wondering what the heck was going on, and not in a good way. Extraordinary amounts of time were spent on characters who weren't central to the story. The narrative continually jumped between characters and tense and timelines. 

 

I'm rating it three stars, because for all its flaws it kept me interested and sort of entertained. Maybe this would have been better in a text version, although I felt Jane Collingwood gave an excellent performance as narrator. 

 

Audiobook, via Audible. 

 

 

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review 2020-05-28 20:52
A Scandal in Bohemia ★★★☆☆
A Scandal in Bohemia - Arthur Conan Doyle

I appreciate the intrigue, and that Holmes was actually a little delighted that he was outsmarted (and out-acted) by a woman, but I'm a little puzzled as to why the Grand Duke insists that a woman who has been blackmailing him is a "woman of her word" and won't expose him now.  

 

Audiobook, part of the enormous Audible "Sherlock Holmes" compilation of works read by Stephen Fry. I'm slowly working my way through it. I'll be listening to the rest of the short stories in "Adventures of" later. 

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review 2020-05-28 16:30
Everneath ★★☆☆☆
Everneath - Brodi Ashton

I'm not sure it's possible for a book to fail the Bechdel test when there are no actual conversations in the first 50 pages, but this one seems to fail the intent, anyway. This re-imagining of the Persephone myth has an interesting premise and (what I read of it) is well-written. But our main character is wholly defined by (and obsesses over) her relationships to people with penises, with a token "best friend" with whom she exchanges three sentences, outside of hellos and goodbyes. 

 

I just am not the target audience for this kind of book. DNF at page 50.

 

Hardcover, signed by the author, who seemed like a very engaging person at her book tour. 

 

I was reading this for the Booklikes-opoly 2020 game, for the lot Stay-cation 8: Read a book that was published during the months of May, June or July, or that contains an item that would be used as a school supply or an article of clothing or an accessory pictured on the cover. This book has a girl in a dress on the cover. With half her head cut off, in true YA cover fashion. Since I DNF'd early, I don't earn any $$ for it. 

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review 2020-05-28 13:53
Agent to the Stars ★★★★★
Agent to the Stars - Wil Wheaton,John Scalzi

Okay, maybe not objectively 5 stars, but this book was just exactly what I needed right now. It's a little silly on the surface, but the goofy premise and light humor and bantering dialogue camouflage some serious themes, one of which surprise-smacked me in the face towards the end. Because it was there all along, I just didn't notice because I was laughing. 

 

Audiobook, via Audible, and Wil Wheaton's performance was as perfect as always. 

 

Thanks for the rec, Char. You never steer me wrong. 

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