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review 2018-03-22 01:55
The Gate to Women's Country
The Gate to Women's Country - Sheri S. Tepper

If I had read this when it was first published, in the 80s, I think I would have really liked this book. Alas, I read it now and it mostly made me angry.

 

This book channels second wave feminism pretty heartily, and unfortunately it also falls into some of the movement's pitfalls. Powerfully negative attitudes towards men lie the foundation for this story - an idea that men are innately violent and aggressive, and women are not, is the true dividing line. This book pretends that personality is based purely on nature with nurture making little difference. Bodily autonomy and emotional connectivity fall to the wayside in favor of eugenics and manipulation. And to make it even worse the lack of gender non-conforming or non-heterosexual individuals in this world is not an oversight - the book flat out states that queer characters were bred out (see page 76 in my edition). To say that the story is misandrist, gender essentialist, and aggressively heteronormative would not be inaccurate nor unfair.

 

As much as I wanted to throw this book across my room at times, or to give it a half star rating, I will give it some credit where credit is due. This book is of its time, and it came from an angry place. And I get that. I've felt that. A lot of people have. It is interesting to use science fiction to play around with thought experiments, and our book club had an excellent discussion about this one. Tepper quite obviously put a lot of thought into her world, and the world-building was fairly intricate. The characters were drawn well enough that I truly hated many of them, and some mirrored individuals I've known in my past. There are some really excellent insights in here, and even passages that I reread because they struck a chord with me. However, I just couldn't get past the politics. It's a great book to talk about and critique, but it is not a book I feel I can recommend outside of that capacity.

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review 2018-03-18 00:36
Moose Country (Living Forest #6)
Moose Country - Sam Campbell

Some adventures are great with a small group and some with a large, yet no matter the size of the group it’s the experience that means more than anything.  Moose Country by Sam Campbell is the sixth book so his Living Forest series, as the author details happenings around the Sanctuary of Wegimind as well as a return journey to Sanctuary Lake with numerous friends both longtime and new in learning about the ways of the moose in the Canadian lake country.

 

Beginning the winter of 1947, Sam and Giny Campbell are taking time away from the lecture circuit and living in the town close to their home to allow Sam to focus on writing.  However that doesn’t stop Sam and others from have misadventures nor witnessing interesting animal behavior to convince the couple—well Sam—to remake their Sanctuary cabin to live in all weather.  Unfortunately the Campbells find their newly installed insulation being taken out by their island squirrels and their chimney inhabited by chimney swifts, which results in some uncomfortable living for weeks as they attempt to relocate the squirrels who keep on coming back to the island and not having a fire in the cold spring nights.  But the Campbells keep their spirits up as they plan to return to Sanctuary Lake, that they visited in A Tippy Canoe and Canada Too, by themselves and much to the disappoint of Hi-Bub.  But things dramatically change over the course of a few weeks, first the squirrels are successful relocated in an abandoned logging village and impending move Hi-Bub’s family results in them joining the Campbells for their return to Canada.  The last half of the book details the week’s long trip to and stay at Sanctuary Lake with all the adventures associated around it.

 

This book is just a page short of the previous installments page count at 235.  Yet as my recap of the book above shows Campbell packs a lot of stuff in that space, so much so I can’t really give a proper recap of entire book.  The latter part of the book sees the return of Sandy and more adventures that include the family of Ray, Marge, and June who surprise visit the Campbell’s and Hi-Bub’s family at Sanctuary Lake with their newest friend, French-Canadian voyageur Ancient who’s insights into the nature of the moose comes in handy.  Though Campbell is philosophical, there is not much of it as in previous books.

 

Moose Country continues Sam Campbell’s fine work emphasizing the wonder of nature and the uniqueness of animals in the wild.  Though half the book is a natural travelogue towards a remote Canadian lake and the wildlife around it, the wonder of nature is brought through in Campbell’s prose that will make it enjoy this book just as you did previous ones.

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review 2018-03-10 21:05
Country Boy (Hot off the Ice #2) by A.E. Wasp 4 Star Review
Country Boy (Hot Off the Ice Book 2) - A. E. Wasp

The first time Paul Dyson met Robbie Rhodes, they ended up naked in Robbie’s bed. The last time they met, on the ice the morning after, Paul punched Robbie in the face and called him something he’d rather not repeat. 

Two years later, they’re teammates and Paul is so deep in the closet he'll need a roadmap to find his way out again.

Robbie might be his compass. But to be with Robbie, Paul will have to turn his back on his family and everything he’s ever believed in. 

It’s going to take a lot of faith to find their way together in this shiny new world. 

 

 

Review

 

This love story is much more angsty than the first one in the series but it is just as good.

 

Paul is struggling to accept his own sexuality and integrate it into his deeply held faith. He risks losing his church community and his connection to his family. Wasp does a great job exploring this tensions and the crisis of worldview with care and respect.

 

Robbie is trying to figure out if he want to be out in the media as a sports figure and if being with Paul is what he should do.

 

These two heroes coming from very different worlds but they like snd love each other so.

 

The romance is compelling, the hockey great, the circle of friends a joy.

 

There are some lovely twists and turns. This could have been a five star book but Paul's integration of faith and sexuality isn't as well explored as it could be in the closing and the stuff with his father felt rushed. The end of the book would be richer if it happened over a series of months and it needed and epilogue like crazy.

 

But it is a really good read overall.

 

 

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review 2018-03-10 20:19
Detective Inspector Roderick Allen Series Book #1
A Man Lay Dead: Inspector Roderick Alleyn #1 - Ngaio Marsh

I've been meaning to try Ngaio Marsh's books for a while so when I came across A Man Lay Dead in my hunt for another country house mystery to read, I figured I could kill two birds with one dagger stone, so to speak. 

In this first book, we're introduced to the star of the series, Detective Inspector Roderick Allen when he's called to the home of Sir Hubert Handesley. Handesley is known for his famous house parties, where all the guests, in keeping with tradition, always play a round of their favorite murder game. But this time though, someone decides to take the murder game to the next level and literally murders one of their fellow players...

It's hard for me to put into words why exactly this wasn't a five star read for me so I'll just say it was the writing style and some of the banter and dialogue. It felt somewhat disjointed at times and I had to read parts over again to make sure I interpreted correctly. It could be because this was the author's first book or it may have just been my adjusting to the conservative British narrative, I dont know....but Detective Inspector Allen's character grew on me and by the end of the book I found I really liked him so I am going to read another book or two in the series and see how I feel about it then.

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review 2018-03-10 09:58
An English Country House Mystery
An English Murder - Cyril Hare

I was in the mood for a good Country House mystery so I decided to read An English Murder by Cyril Hare. The Lord of the manor is ill and bedridden so he decides to invite several family members and close friends to his home at Warbeck Hall for one last Christmas holiday gathering.

 

There's an undercurrent of tension amongst the guests right from the start. They dislike each other for a multitude of reasons- politics, love triangle, racism, classism- you name it.

 

With that said, the characters are really the downfall of this book to me. None of them were very likeable at all which made the book kind of dreary and boring to me. 

 

Also just a heads up, if you are thinking of waiting until Christmas to read as holiday book its really not necessary. This isn't really a festive story and the holiday is only mentioned a couple times, if that.

 

 

 

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