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review 2018-02-04 23:54
Review: Annihilation, by Jeff Vandermeer
Annihilation - Jeff VanderMeer
Annihilation is a beautiful mindfuck of a book. Told in evocative, meticulous prose, it describes an expedition into an uncharted and sinister terrain. Four women, referred to only by their titles - biologist, psychologist, anthropologist, surveyor - are recruited by the Southern Reach, a shadowy government agency, to venture into a region of south Florida known as Area X. Once a lightly-populated coastal wilderness adjoining a military base, an incomprehensible Event some thirty years ago transformed the landscape into an ominous grotesque, a deadly but ineffable biological menace. Like a cancer, the tainted biosphere seems to have arisen from its own rotted DNA. And, like a cancer, Area X is growing.
 
Theirs is the twelfth expedition. During their training, the members were not told much about the fate of their predecessors - only that the first expedition reported nothing unusual, "just pristine, empty wilderness". But the second expedition ended in mass suicide, and the third slaughtered each other. The Southern Reach no longer permits expedition members to bring weapons.
 
The biologist, our narrator, has a more personal connection to the program than her compatriots do: Her husband had been a member of the eleventh expedition. He returned, or his body did, but he had been reduced to some kind of shell or facsimile. He evinced a blank and dreamlike demeanor, and spoke seldom. Within six months of his return, he died from an aggressive, mysterious cancer. The seven other members of his expedition, she later learned, had all met the same fate.
 
The biologist's expertise in transitional environments qualifies her for the expedition, but her motives for joining are personal. It's not so much that she aches to learn what really happened to her husband, but that she covets the serenity he had apparently found on his journey: "At the time, I was seeking oblivion, and I sought in those blank, anonymous faces, even the most painfully familiar, a kind of benign escape. A death that would not mean being dead."
 
In this book, Vandermeer juxtaposes those heartbreakingly human desires against the unknowable, alien intelligence of Area X - this sinister, inexorable force that reads, remakes, infects, transforms. The region teems with tortured beings: turgid monsters with human eyes, crumbling villages full of strangely anthropoid vegetation, a distant moaning at twilight. And a tower buried in the ground, with walls that seem to sweat, and breathe, inscribed with ominous words made of insects and mold.
 
It is the tower that dominates the narrative from the very beginning. Annihilation has one of the best opening paragraphs I have ever read, which perfectly sets the tone:
The tower, which was not supposed to be there, plunges into the earth in a place just before the black pine forest begins to give way to swamp and then the reeds and wind-gnarled trees of the marsh flats. Beyond the marsh flats and the natural canals lies the ocean and, a little farther down the coast, a derelict lighthouse. All of this part of the country had been abandoned for decades, for reasons that are not easy to relate. Our expedition was the first to enter Area X for more than two years, and much of our predecessors' equipment had rusted, their tents and sheds little more than husks. Looking out over that untroubled landscape, I do not believe any of us could yet see the threat.
As the biologist descends into the tower, the words that spiral down its walls begin to infect her frame of mind. Formed of living mold, she inhales their spores, and she starts to grasp their terrible meaning: "Where lies the strangling fruit that came from the hand of the sinner I shall bring forth the seeds of the dead..."
 
Contaminated by the tissue and the mind of Area X, the biologist's consciousness starts to mutate and the boundaries between herself and the landscape begin to blur. Exploring further into the wilderness, toward the foreboding lighthouse at its center, the unraveling expedition strays farther and farther from its ostensible purpose, as one by one its members succumb to the terrifying reality warping the heart of Area X.
 
In some ways, this book is pure horror. In others, an exquisitely described biological dreamscape. It works as both hard science fiction and as philosophical fantasy. But what particularly fascinates and disturbs me about this incredible novel is how the biologist's transformation, though harrowing and unfathomable, is an utterly natural progression, a plausible, even inevitable evolution. We are all creatures of our environment, after all.
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review 2018-02-04 19:31
Made My Heart Sing
Whistling in the Dark - Tamara Allen

"And jazz- it didn't sing sweetly, like the music he'd been raised on. It shouted out, fierce to lift the weariest spirit. It could own a fellow's soul if he let it- and even if he didn't " 
I wish I could hear that jazz, played in clubs in New York at that time.

It's one of those books whose characters I want to know personally.
I wanted to listen to Sutton play, go wander the streets at 2 am with Jack, go to their parties and have a drink with them. I wanted to have a friend like Harry...

The author has done an amazing job composing the setting, building masterfully a character at a time when PTSD did not even exist as an idea, when free jazz and "Dixieland" did not hold the significance they do now, and the Prohibition knocking on the door.


This is my favorite book by Tamara Allen and for some strange reason while I read I remembered Palahniuk's words describing the world we live in now : 
" We're the middle children of the history man, no purpose or place, we have no Great war, no Great depression, our great war is a spiritual war, our great depression is our lives " 

Whistling in the dark is that one work that made me want to time travel and shake the hands of those characters, who've lived and experienced all that we / for better or worse / can never have

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review 2018-02-04 15:44
Outstanding
Crush - Richard Siken

As I have mentioned before, I've always thought preference for poetry is very strictly individual, this is valid for all genres of literature, of course- it's just that to me poetry gives more freedom for interpretation of forms and compositions. 

 

It feels like interpreting poems is something VERY intimate.

 

I am not going to actually review the book, since I lack the vocabulary I need to express my admiration, so I'll only share my favorite part of a poem : 

“For a while I thought I was the dragon.
I guess I can tell you that now. And, for a while, I thought I was
the princess,
cotton candy pink, sitting there in my room, in the tower of the castle,
young and beautiful and in love and waiting for you with
confidence
but the princess looks into her mirror and only sees the princess,
while I’m out here, slogging through the mud, breathing fire,
and getting stabbed to death.
Okay, so I’m the dragon. Big deal.
You still get to be the hero. " 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-02-01 04:12
Book review: Checkmate This is beautiful Kennedy fox
Checkmate : This is beautiful - Kennedy Fox

Jan 14-15

Kayla Sinclair is a saint and real life Angel.
She wears her heart on her sleeve and inspires me to be a better person.
Rescuing dogs, feeding the homeless, volunteering at the local food pantry are just a few of the ways she gives back to others, although no one has ever been there for her.
Falling for her was inevitable, losing her will destroy me.

Letting someone in didn't come easy, but she made me want to try for the first time in years.
Her bubbling personality and kind spirit make it impossible to forget a girl like her.
But when tragedy strikes and she loses all memory that our relationship ever existed, my worst nightmare comes to life.

I'll do anything to remind her of the love we shared. I know it'll be an uphill battle, but I won't walk away without a fight. Whoever said all is fair in love and war never played by my rules.

Checkmate, Angel.

Review :The series has ended I loved this series so much in the last book Kayla has lost her memory and it was really hard for her and Logan cause she doesnt remember him and I felt so bad for Logan cause hes so in love with her but she doesnt remember him and they try to make it work but its not working so he ends it . Kayla ends up quiting her job and is planning on starting a no kill animal shelter and one night when she was out with her friends she sees Logans daughter and it triggers her memory and she remembers everything and she goes to logan but his daughters mother answers the door but Logan finds Kayla and they get back together.Kayla has been through a lot through the years and she deserves to be happy. Logan proposes to kayla on Christmas which is her birthday and in the future courntey and her are both pregnant I loved the ending of this series. 

quotes :

Kayla Adele Sinclair, will you make me the happiest fucking man in the world and marry me?”

“I remember,” I tell them. “I remember everything.”


Did I really send you a text message about my bleeding uterus and wanting to eat a glazed donut off your dick?”


“I know you don’t remember me, Angel, but just know I love you deeply and nothing will ever change that.”

 

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review 2018-01-30 22:27
Exhilarating read set at the dawn of WW2; a young Jewish girl becomes a spy and infiltrates Nazi academy
Orphan Monster Spy - Matt Killeen

This was such an exhilarating read and a book that really is so different from anything else in the YA genre right now; I read this in its entirety during one day of the '24in48' Readathon this weekend, I absolutely couldn't put it down.
Set at the dawn of World War 2, Sarah has just witnessed her mother's murder, after fleeing their home because of Jewish round-ups, and somehow lands in the care of a British spy, Captain Floyd. He takes her under his wing, who realizes that her long blond hair, pale skin, and blue eyes, make her look less like the Jew that she is, and more like the Aryan Elite that makes her a perfect infiltrate at the Rothenstadt boarding school, an academy for Nazi general's daughters. Now under a new identity as Ursula Haller, Sarah is suddenly on a mission to gather secrets from within, and she is thrown among the wolves where some of the nastiest discipline happens in the name of the Fuhrer.
Every day, it feels like there's a danger of her identity being discovered, and even her recurrent nightmares threaten to give her away; throughout the book she has them, and she also continuously 'speaks' to her 'Mutti' for strength, although she has passed away. You constantly get the feeling it's very difficult knowing how hard it is to get through each day without a person to confide in, with no one to trust.
The entire book is built around the character Sarah/Ursula, and author Matt Killeen depicts a young teen who has to be very strong, makes hard decisions, has to be very brave, and at times, wishes she could just break down, and in many ways, is still so so immature. I would imagine this to be the way it was for many children forced to grow up in war time (regardless of circumstance).
While I don't know how many readers will go into this with extreme detail of World War 2 (being from Britain, having a WW2-obsessed dad I know plenty, believe me), I had SO much anxiety for Sarah throughout the book. I couldn't trust a single, sodding character! I fully realize that this is YA, and Killeen wasn't about to turn this any scarier, but it did get me wondering how much worse things could have turned... There's a lot more war left, after the point the book ended too! More adventures for this spy?
I'm going to say immediately that it will be definitely be in contention for a top ten spot for me this year. Any book that sucks me back into a time period where you think about how your very existence could be always in questionable danger, makes such a mark on me, and I hope others reading really felt that too. It made such a change to read a novel about this era for this age group. Put it on your TBR, everyone!!!

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