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review 2017-10-17 17:39
Cinder - Marissa Meyer

Finally picked up my first Marissa Meyer book after rave reviews from friends and fellow #bookstagrammers and it did not disappoint! Seriously impressive world-building, with deep commitment to the dystopian future China cyberpunk setting. Novel, easily recognizable, and thoroughly interwoven.

 

Loved the disaffected teen characterization of Cinder too; her determination and frustration felt authentic and appealingly off-kilter. Her punk/grunge aesthetic was both sympathetic and, at times, hilarious. Love the silk-and-grease-stained awkwardness. Sort of pitied and rooted for her at the same time.

 

Strong emotional beats; stakes were clear, and loss was handled with sensitivity. The world and abuses felt traumatic, but not traumatizing. Gritty, but not unrelentingly dark. The light romance was well played. Overall one of the best fairytale adaptations I've read; fresh, and with clear but not slavish awareness of the plot and tropes of the original. I picked up the sequel immediately on reaching the last page.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-10-12 07:32
Reading Anniversaries: First in a Series & Singles–October Edition

 

 

These are the books that I read in different Octobers throughout my reading life and have left an impression on me.

 

2015

 

Minette Walters became an automatic buy for me right after I had read her for the first time. This novella wasn’t any different even though it was inspired by true events.

 

 

Set in London…good!

Steampunk…good!

Shades of UF…good!

Part of a series…good!

Need I say more?

 

Okay, so this series has me confused. While I love the Asian culture that is prolific in the books, I keep thinking there is something missing. It could be that it took the lead couple like 3–4 books to even admit their feelings to each other. I don’t want to stop reading this series but I do have to be in the mood for it.

 

I haven’t read many MM novels but I did read this one and loved it.

 

My Mini-Review for this book: Everybody loves a good apocalypse and I’m no exception! There was a female lead who, if not exactly capable of kicking ass, was a leading geneticist– brains over brawn any day! The freaky way the vaccine changed them all was amazing-no death causing viruses or flesh-eating zombies, yet horrific in its own way. Prison takeovers are the scariest things ever and the author combined it with a post-apocalyptic scenario! The ever-present threat of the convicts getting to our heroine was sufficient to keep me reading.

I loved the fact that the author didn’t even need to show much violence to keep the readers hooked– she just let us imagine what “could” happen if they got to her.

 

Irreverence is a personal favorite of mine, which you might have guessed from my binge read of the Preacher graphic novels! This novel was funny but dragged in some places.

“If manta rays are going to be harmless, they should look more harmless, Pardee thought. Fuckers look like aquatic Draculas.”
“He didn’t understand religion. It was like heroin or golf: He knew a lot of people did it, but he didn’t understand why.”
 

I can’t stop myself once I have read the word, Steampunk, being associated with a book. This was a fun romp of a book and I enjoyed reading it, even if it did get bogged down in certain places.

 

Read my review here. My favorite stories from this bunch:

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES by Jodi Picoult ★★★★
 How parents deal with the loss of their 7-year-old daughter.

A LIFE IN FICTIONS Kat Howard★★★★
 She was a part of his stories..literally!

THE THERAPIST by Jeffery Deaver★★★★
 Nemes are very real and you may be susceptible to them!

PARALLEL LINES by Tim Powers★★★★
 Twins-one sister dies and decides she wants to come back.

 

2008

 

The best part about anything written by Ilona & Gordon Andrews is probably that they manage to include important issues, such as rape, abuse, family, in it. But they do it in a way that makes you see why an issue’s important yet

In diplomacy, like in great many other things, the rules of engagement survive only until one remarkable person decides to break them.

 

Which books did you read in October that left their mark on you?

 

Image

 

 

Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on October 12, 2017.

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review 2017-09-05 07:00
The Sleeping Dictionary - Sujata Massey

"THE SLEEPING DICTIONARY" is one of the best novels I've had the pleasure of reading this year. Sujata Massey, also known for her Rei Shimura mystery novels, is fast becoming one of my favorite writers. This is a rich, multi-layered, intense, thrilling story centered on the life of a young woman from West Bengal during the latter days of the British Raj. She began her life as Pom in a small village that was wiped out by an ocean wave, leaving her to cling to life on the highest rung of a lowly tree til she manages to draw the attention of a small rowing boat, which takes her to shore.

 

As a 10 year old orphan in 1930, Pom ends up in a British boarding school, where she (renamed Sarah) works as a servant and discovers she has a gift for languages. She learns to read and develops a passion for books and a remarkable facility in the English language, so much so that she can speak it like any well-heeled Briton. While at the boarding school, Sarah strikes up a friendship with Bidushi, an Indian girl of similar age from a well-to-do Brahmin family who struggles to learn English. Sarah helps Bidushi with her studies, and over time, their friendship grows, making them deeply bonded to one another.

 

Bidushi's family has made arrangements for her to marry Pankai, a fellow Brahmin who is studying law in London. The family encourages both Bidushi and Pankaj to maintain a correspondence. Bidushi shares Pankaj's letters with Sarah, and asks her help in writing letters in response to him. As a result, Sarah learns a great deal about Pankaj (who is among those Indians determined to achieve independence for their country from the British), and this proves to figure prominently in Sarah's later life. A life full of twists and turns that sees her forced out of the boarding school before she could complete her studies, and find refuge in Kharagpur. There she faces many challenges and experiences the darker, more sinister side of life before again, she finds she must flee. From Kharagpur, Sarah moves on to Calcutta in the late 1930s. There Sarah takes on a new identity, friends, work, and a deep, abiding commitment to the growing independence movement. The novel never flags. One you pick it up and read a few chapters, you're hooked.

 

I highly recommend "THE SLEEPING DICTIONARY" to everyone. It has an English/Hindi/Bengali reference guide that will further enrich your reading experience. And for those readers with a love for Indian cuisine, a few recipes are provided at novel's end under the title "A Taste of Old Calcutta."

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text 2017-08-31 07:30
August 2017 Wrap Up
Falling for the Enemy - Naomi Rawlings
Homicide in High Heels - Gemma Halliday
Her Holiday Family (Texas Grooms (Love Inspired Historical)) - Winnie Griggs
Mission of Hope (Love Inspired Historical) - Allie Pleiter
The Dragon and the Pearl - Jeannie Lin

 I am burning out on COYER. I need something other than Harlequin romance. Bring on Halloween Bingo!

 

Challenges:

BL/GR: 128/150; 85% completed

Pop Sugar: 2; 42/52 prompts filled

Library Love Challenge: 2; 42/36 for the year

COYER: 12; 82% of list read from June-August

 

1. Falling for the Enemy by Naomi Rawlings (COYER) (Pop Sugar) - 5 stars

 

2. Homicide in High Heels (High Heels #8) by Gemma Halliday (COYER) (Library Love) - 4 stars

 

3. Chaucer's Major Tales by Michael Hoy and Michael Stevens (Pop Sugar) (COYER) (Library Love) - 2.5 stars

 

4. Her Holiday Family by Winnie Griggs (COYER) - 4 stars

 

5. Mission of Hope by Allie Pleiter (COYER) - 4.5 stars

 

6. The Baby Barter by Patty Smith Hall (COYER) - 3 stars

 

7. Emma and the Outlaw by Linda Lael Miller (COYER) - 1.5 stars

 

8. The Bootlegger's Daughter by Lauri Robinson (COYER) - 1 star

 

9. Love, Special Delivery by Melinda Curtis (COYER) - 2 stars

 

10. Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin (COYER) - .5 star

 

11. The Dragon and the Pearl by Jeannie Lin (COYER) - 4 stars

 

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review 2017-08-30 21:42
Review: The Dragon and the Pearl by Jeannie Lin
The Dragon and the Pearl - Jeannie Lin

Probably the best full length book in the series. Li Tao and Ling Suyin were a great couple and great individual characters (both got a raw deal character development wise in the first book). The plotline was filled with action and political intrigue. Best part, you don't have to read the first book to understand the characters or plot line in this book. One of the best examples of using flashbacks to tell the MCs back stories, like peeling back an onion. Such a great balance between the sexy times and the emotional intimacy times. Diplomacy and negotiations were dicey in Tang Dynasty China but the MCs didn't rise from poor kids in Luoyang to the Emperors' inner circles without gaining skills and reputation to use as capital during such dangerous times.

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