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review 2018-05-23 02:45
What's that joke about a gorilla and a typewriter?
The Murderer's Ape - Jakob Wegelius

I love a good Swedish to English translation (except for that one time I attempted Wallander) so I thought that The Murderer's Ape by Jakob Wegelius would be no exception. However, I cannot unequivocally state that I loved this book...or that I loathed it. The book is told from the standpoint of a gorilla who has been christened Sally Jones. She's been around humans her entire life and therefore not only understands what they are saying but can read as well. She's a gifted engineer who the reader discovers has the ability to figure out most mechanical devices be they accordions or airplanes. (This is integral to the storyline.) Her best friend is a (human) man she refers to as Chief and who took her on as a partner when he got his own ship. But all of this was before they ran into some trouble. Without giving too much away, the two are separated and Sally is forced to adapt in order to survive. At its heart, this is an adventure story with a lot of drama. What I enjoyed were the illustrations which were done by the author and accompanied the heading of each chapter as well as a gallery of character portraits at the very beginning. Some of the issues I had with this novel were in its dealings with race, religion, and ethnicity. It was hard for me to pinpoint if the problems I had could be explained by viewing it through the lens of the time in which the novel took place but I found them unsettling nonetheless. Overall, I wasn't totally blown away but I wouldn't throw it out of an airplane door either. 4/10

 

Source: American Library Association

 

Examples of the illustrations. [Source: Playing by the book]

 

 

What's Up Next: Golda Meir: A Strong, Determined Leader by David A. Adler

 

What I'm Currently Reading: The House With a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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text 2018-05-23 01:08
Reading progress update: I've read 12 out of 672 pages.
EuroTragedy A Drama in Nine Acts - Ashoka Mody

I'm not even though the introduction, and I can already tell I'm going to have some philosophical issues with this book. Mody's argument that the whole European single currency was poorly thought out is one that I can buy, but I wonder to what degree he is overlooking the parallel political dynamics. True, fiscal union proved important to support monetary union. But setting aside the degree to which the EU provides development funds that function to a degree (albeit a limited one) as a common fiscal program, Europeans wreen't talking just about a monetary union in the 1960s, but a broader political one (e.g. the lofty goal of a "United States of Europe") as well. Hopefully Mody addresses this in his text, otherwise he is being excessively judgmental about the pursuit of monetrary union.

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review 2018-05-21 22:33
THE IMMORTALISTS by CHLOE BENJAMIN
The Immortalists - Chloe Benjamin

Audiobook

I kept putting off requesting this book because I stopped reading family sagas in the early 1980s. But I kept reading the blurb over and over and finally thought why not. This book was so good! It's about 4 brothers and sisters and their life from an encounter with a psychic until their death. I liked that it didn't jump around between them but had four parts for each person. The family itself was so sad. All of the stuff they did or should have done, I just wanted to grab the fictional person by the shoulders and tell them that they matter. I loved the ending. I would definitely recommend this book.

Maggie Hoffman did a great job with the narration - both the men and women, young and old.

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review 2018-05-21 21:24
The Sound - Sarah Alderson

Trigger warning: Mention of rape/abuse of minors. Not implicit, but it is fairly important to the plot later on and not what the reader might be expecting.

 

I loved this book! Really loved it. Yes, it is practically a trashy teen romance with lots of cliches. I’m not denying that. However, I’d rather have something like this – which doesn’t need to try very hard to do what it sets out to do – than some kind of overambitious dystopian future with countless plot holes which falls apart in a few chapters. This book was consistent, and I liked that.

 

I enjoyed all of the characters to some extent, even the horrible ones. (They weren’t horrible all the time.) I also really loved the dynamics between the protagonist and her love interests more than naything. Ren was a great character to read about, and her interactions with Jesse and Jeremy were really, really cute. We had a pretty large cast and lots of directions to take the plot, and it felt like everyone was important in some way or another.

 

This book tries to make out that it’s something more than just teen romance, but…it isn’t, really. It’s about Ren finding love in America and there’s no two ways about it. There’s this subplot about a serial killer on the loose but strangely enough it’s mostly in the background whilst we focus on Ren making out with Jeremy, or Jesse, or whichever half-naked shirtless hot boy she’s enamoured with. Like, I was 2/3 of the way through the book before they were like “Oh shit, somebody else has been murdered. Ren, don’t you think you should be going home now before you get killed too?”

 

The story being this: Ren is working as a nanny in America for the summer. Here, she ends up getting romantically involved with two of the many hot guys who lives here, and…well, that’s the bulk of the book. There’s a serial killer in town who goes around murdering foreign nannies. Just like her. You can imagine how that works out.

 

It’s strange that the serial killer is mostly in the background the whole time and does almost NOTHING until the last chapter (in fact, I almost forgot he was there). He kills one girl in the entire book, and he doesn’t even do a good job of it. (She runs away and only dies of her wounds much later). The murder seemed almost like an afterthought, but I understand that wasn’t the focus of the book. It’s also not easy to guess who the killer is, because of the large cast and there’s so many characters that he could be.

 

There’s another subplot where one of the boys has been preying on underage girls. I say “preying”, but rape and abuse are involved (though in the past tense, that is, since it’s crimes he’s committed before). Nobody has filed any charges against him because he is very rich, has a lot of connections, and has a powerful lawyer that will protect him from any consequences.

 

This guy was actually more iconic than the fricking serial killer, I swear. You really wanted to see him thrown in prison for his crimes, he showed no remorse for anything he did and actually bragged about it. He also got more focus than the murderer did. If anything, he was a lot more interesting because he was one of the main characters, too. The scenes where they finally confront him are some of the most intense ones in the entire story.

 

Let’s take a look at the core of the book - Ren’s two love interests.

 

Love Interest Number One: Jeremy. He’s one of the first boys that Ren meets in the story, and is a total gentleman from the very beginning. He opens doors for her, compliments on her appearance all the time, takes her out to parties, makes her feel like the world revolves around her, makes out with her quite a bit and she’s always swooning over him. He sounds like the perfect boyfriend.

 

Love Interest Number Two: Jesse. Practically unapproachable “bad boy”. Most people avoid him because he has a reputation for being aggressive and violent. Prior to this book, he literally beat the shit out of another guy, landing him into hospital. He’s done time in juvenile prison as a result and also has a restraining order. Yeah, it’s that bad. But wait, he also plays guitar and sings in a band, and that makes him cooler. When Ren meets him for the first time, she finds him pretty intimidating already (but he also has his shirt off at the time and she can’t stop looking at his muscles).

 

Guess who she’s more attracted to? You think it’s the guy who treats her like she’s the centre of his world? The non-violent one?

 

Nope. Guess again. She goes for the violent bad boy who’s done time for assault. Seriously. What is wrong with her? Who in their right mind would do that?! Even her friends think she’s nut for going for him. He may be her second choice, but she gets attracted to him pretty fast.

 

However! We get a plot twist, and it turns out Mr Nice Guy was just using Ren to score points with another dickhead friend of his, so actually he’s no longer nice or a gentleman at all. It also turns out that Mr Violent Guy had a very good reason for wanting to put that other guy into hospital – but the fact remains that he still lost control and beat him to a pulp, meaning that he’s still very violent and our protagonist seems to forget that.

 

I guess if she’d read on in the book then she might have a reason for dating Jesse for plot reasons, but it still doesn’t make sense. The first time she meets Jesse, he literally looks like he wants to kill her…I mean, come on. This isn’t healthy. This just sounds like she’s attracted to really violent men. Good thing that the violent guy wasn’t actually that violent after all, but man, it just feels a bit off.

 

Even so, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was romantic, it was cute, it had conflict – and just the right amount, too. It didn’t try to shove tons of drama and conflict down our throat like some YA books I could name, and it never made me feel bored at all. It was just right. There was a love triangle, obviously, but it actually made sense and didn’t feel forced.

 

I cannot tell you what a breath of fresh air it is in a YA novel to have a love triangle which actually feels like it BELONGS there. So far, I’ve only found this to be true in actual romance books which revolve around the romance and very little else.

 

I guess one criticism was that Ren was pretty similar to most female protagonists you find in a YA novel, and didn’t seem very unique. But you know what, I didn’t care. The romance was done well enough that it hardly seemed to matter. And I can’t fault the book for that.

 

All in all, I’ll give this a 4.

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review 2018-05-21 02:36
THE END HAS COME by JOHN JOSEPH ADAMS
The End Has Come (The Apocalypse Triptych) (Volume 3) - Jamie Ford,Hugh Howey,Seanan McGuire,John Joseph Adams,Ken Liu,Scott Sigler,Ben H. Winters,Elizabeth Bear,Carrie Vaughn,Jonathan Maberry

Anthology. I'm going to read each author's work in this triptych. Starting with Volume 1, then Volume 2 and lastly Volume 3. I'm hoping that each story will give an extension of the beginning story. 

3.79 stars average


1. Bannerless by Carrie Vaughn. Fantastic story. Dystopian investigator finds out what's happening in a small village. Love it. 5 stars

2. Like All Beautiful Places by Megan Arkenberg. I may have read this author before. I remember a story of a melting landscape and a sea with no waves. I thought at the time, it's the moon that makes the waves not air. This book is very similar. 2-1/2 stars.

3. Dancing with a Stranger in the Land of Nod by Will McIntosh. Families trying to figure out what their new normal is. 4 stars.

4. The Seventh Day of Deer Camp by Scott Sigler. A man does whatever it takes to save innocents. Really good story. 5 stars

5. Prototype by Sarah Langan. Through evolution, human's have turned into pets/experiments. A really sad story. 4 stars

6. Acts of Creation by Chris Avellone. What is going on? Is it real, a computer, what? 2 stars

7. Resistance by Seanan McGuire. How can the victim keep being told that she's to blame? She didn't (view spoiler). It just didn't make sense. And the ending didn't make sense either. 2 stars

8. Wandering Star by Leife Shallcross. A quilt shows that in the end a family stays together. Sweet story. 4 stars

9. Heaven Come Down by Ben H. Winters. After everyone has died and everything is destroyed and then rebuilt, she learns the truth. 3 stars.

10. Agent Neutralized by David Wellington. 10 years later, he can finally do something semi-good. 5 stars

11. Goodnight Earth by Annie Bellet. I don't understand why this story has this title because the others made sense, this not so much. Much, much, much later the world has changed and not for the good. 3 stars.

12. Carriers by Tananarive Due. Decades later, after being used and abused, a survivor finds some happiness. Loved it! 5 stars.

13. In the Valley of the Shadow of the Promised Land by Robin Wasserman. Now everyone has aged and the leader has told a story to justify everything he's done thinking he'll be able to write the ending the way he wants. I really enjoyed all three stories. 4 stars. 

14. The Uncertainty Machine by Jamie Ford. A 3rd survivor doesn't know if he's going to be rescued or forgotten. Okay story. 3 stars.

15. Margin of Survival by Elizabeth Bear. A woman and her sister try to survive not only the first apocalypse but the many afterwards. Sad story. 4 stars

16. Jingo and the Hammerman by Jonathan Maberry. With the new normal, people are just doing their job striking down zombies that accumulate and a coincidence happens. I don't understand Moose's tears at the end, I would think it would be more laughter than anything. Much better than the other two stories. 4 stars.

17. The Last Movie Ever Made by Charlie Jane Anders. The teenagers are older now and the world has changed but not completely. When they find themselves trapped in their hometown, they use a movie to escape but the outcome isn't exactly what they wanted. Really good story. 4 stars

18. The Gray Sunrise by Jake Kerr. The asteroid hits with a father and son trying to escape. Another great story. 5 stars.

19. The Gods Have Not Died in Vain by Ken Liu. After the near destruction of the world, an inventor has found a solution that might save Earth. I really enjoyed these three stories. 4 stars.

20. In the Woods by Hugh Howey. SPOILER[So these idiots extract revenge 500 years later on a lone woman who had nothing to do with what happened (hide spoiler)] How stupid could they be!? The story was good but the revenge was ridiculous. I don't think anyone with half a brain would have done this. So 3 stars for the storytelling but not the ending.

21. Blessings by Nancy Kress. Many years after the 2nd story, the world seems to have changed for the better, but not perfect. Another good story. 4 stars

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