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review 2017-11-22 23:11
Fun, expressive whirlwind trip through the bones of Charles Dickens's GREAT EXPECTATIONS.
Great Expectations (Manga Classics) - Crystal Chan,Charles Dickens,Nokman Poon

Disclaimer: reviewing an uncorrected eARC via NetGalley.


Art: It's actually better than the covers would suggest. The black-and-white manga-style artwork is attractive, emotional, and expressive. Comedic cartoon-style distortion helps add levity to a fairly heavy plot, while some subtlety of storytelling is better expressed through the illustrations than the deeply abbreviated text. I found the colourized cover art too "plastic" looking, but overall the style holds up, with clearly-differentiated characters, detailed backgrounds and solid transitions. Occasional problems with distinguishing who's speaking or what's going on.


Story: This is an adaptation, and necessarily a heavily abbreviated one. I thought they did a surprisingly good job of conveying the scope and emotional underpinnings of the story while racing through it at a breakneck speed. The language does get pretty heavy-handed at times, with little subtlety in expressing themes and character perspectives. There's some odd switches between original lines and modern-day, but as an accessible entry-point for children, avoiding continuous use of dense and dated language makes sense.

Extras: The book includes several pages of liner notes about the adaptation, as well as a helpful section indicating how to read manga-style ("backward") books.


Overall, a solid, entertaining and surprisingly informative Coles-notes style manga adaptation. Could be good to introduce (older) children to a classic novel in a more accessible way, to help reluctant readers understand key themes without wading through heavy language, or as a fast, fun refresher to those who are already familiar with the original source material.

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review 2017-11-22 22:55
Yay for a genderqueer hero
An Unsuitable Heir - K.J. Charles

An excellent end to the series. This brought the trilogy to an exciting head. As this is written to overlap with the other two books in an entwined story covering three (four) couples, there are moments of clarity that you only get when all three books are put together. I prepared for this by listening to the previous two books.

I loved meeting up with the others again, especially Clem (who was just adorable in the way he took his nephew under his wing) and Justin, and meeting Tim in more than passing.


As for the romance in this, I adored the gruff pragmatic Mark, and Pen, yes Pen spoke to my soul. There aren't enough Q representations in the LGBTQ spectrum and Pen's experiences and feelings resonated with me.


It was all Pen wanted out of life: for people to let him to be himself, Pen Starling, nothing more or less or different. He didn’t want special treatment, only what other people had, which was to walk down the street without having to dress up as someone else.
That sometimes seemed absurd, on the days he enjoyed the set of his shoulders and wondered how he’d look with a beard. It was only clothing.


The plain fact was, Pen’s mind didn’t always fit his body. Jaw, beard, shoulders, prick: they all said one thing, and it wasn’t him. He couldn’t change what parts his body had—and he wouldn’t have wanted to, because the other set wouldn’t have been right either—but he could change how it looked. Long hair and eye paint, jewellery and scarves: he put adornments that said woman on a body that said man, and together it added up to something else. To him.
All that meant nakedness felt difficult, sometimes, and Mark hadn’t demanded it, or touched where he hadn’t been invited.

I was worried about how KJ would bring this to a close and still get these guys a HEA, but I needn't have worried. The outcome was perfect for all concerned.

I'm sad that these books have come to an end but I have all 3 audios (Matthew Lloyd Davies does an excellent job) and I'll be listening to each and every one of these time and time again.


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review 2017-11-21 00:00
The Unreal Boyfriend (Captured by Love Book 9)
The Unreal Boyfriend (Captured by Love Book 9) - Miranda P. Charles Shocking reveals, never ending secrets and hidden dangers are a constant with this group of friends. It's nice to know that no matter the scenario, someone always has your back. The Captured by Love series is an exciting mesh of red herrings and titillating lust. A maze of danger waiting to be solved drives friendships and awakens hearts. The Unreal Boyfriend has Derek and Bernadette in the hot seat this time around. Derek is searching for answers. Bernadette is hoping for love. In this game of cat and mouse, trust is a luxury that neither have. Not only are hearts at risk, but lives may be at stake. The suspense is killer, the romance is electric and the drama is edge of the seat intense.

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review 2017-11-12 19:13
Aradia or the Gospel of the Witches - Charles G Leland

Another great work of scholarship of Leland, this one surrounding the well-known grimoire and the revival of modern witchcraft inspired by this and related works.

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review 2017-11-09 20:49
David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

Wow! What a book.


This one was on my TBR for years, but I was intimidated by its size. Well, I’ve done it. I’ve finally completed Dickens’s masterpiece (well, one of them) — the book he famously declared was his favorite. The quintessential coming of age tale, this 750-page novel explores in depth David Copperfield, who narrates in first-person, as well as the various friends and lovers and coworkers he comes to know over the years. It’s a dense, challenging journey, but one so worth taking.


Though I have read and enjoyed other Dickens novels before, this was the first time I truly couldn’t wait to get back to the story. I thought this would take me at least two weeks to finish; I finished in one. I just couldn’t put this brick down!


A masterclass in character development, this long novel is one I am sure I will revisit again and again. David, Little Emily, Peggotty, Agnes, Traddles, and all the rest: you will forever have a place in my heart.

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