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review 2017-03-17 19:25
Book 9/100: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Carry On - Rainbow Rowell

This book took a little while to get going for me -- at first it felt as if Rowell was clearly out of her element writing fantasy -- and as someone who reads a lot of fantasy, I couldn't help but notice the shortcomings in worldbuilding, and just how LONG it seemed to take to set everything up; the story was about 1/3 of the way in before the plot really got going. Everything else was just showing us what it was like to be a student at Rowell's version of a magical school.

However, this book can really be read on two different levels: as a fantasy story in its own right, or as commentary on the world of Harry Potter.

It's passable as a story in its own right, but as commentary on the Harry Potter franchise, it is brilliant.

The parallels and nods to J.K. Rowling's worlds are obvious -- after all, the book started as an obvious stand-in for Harry Potter and Potter fan culture in its original incarnation in [book:Fangirl|16068905]. It's in the departures from Rowling's world that Rowell really drives her points home. Her version of a magical wizarding school is far more culturally and ethnically diverse than Rowling's, and it includes gay characters who don't have to wait for the whole series to be completed before being "outed" (::coughcough:: Dumbledore being gay after the fact was a copout ::cough cough::). It is, of course, much edgier than Rowling's world, with plenty of swearing and some making out, although certain aspects of it were strangely chaste. (Like, why did we never know the extent of Simon's and Agnes's sexual relationship even though they had been together for three years? Am I the only one who wondered about this?) It also examines the whole idea of the "chosen one" mythos and especially takes a jab at the somewhat creepy/inappropriate/irresponsible relationship between Dumbledore and Harry that is glossed over as perfectly healthy, warm, and admirable in Rowling's book. By contrast, the Mage (Dumbledore's stand-in), is an ethically ambiguous character, ultimately more dark than light, but for a long time Simon sees him through an adoring child's eyes much the way Harry sees Dumbledore. The difference is that Simon's perception of the Mage matures; Harry's never does.

It's somewhat strange to come in reading the "last book" in a series when the earlier books in the series do not actually exist. I couldn't help but notice how much more of an impact this story probably would have had on me if I had been following these characters' lives for years rather than being dropped into their world in the final act. I'm not sure I would have wanted to commit to seven books of this, anyway, but it's definitely a worthwhile read. It's got that Rowell "relationship magic" if that's what you go in for, but it's also a smart, incisive critique of what is arguably the most influential children's series of our lifetimes.

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review 2017-02-19 22:20
Daily Grind (Takeover #4) by Anna Zabo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brian Keppler, owner of Ground N'At, the coffee shop beneath SR Anderson Consulting, doesn't have time for a relationship. His most recent girlfriend broke up with him because he'd become married to his shop, which is falling apart without his favorite barista, Justin.

As he struggles to stay afloat, the arrival of handsome British high-tech whiz Robert Ancroft becomes another complication. Rob quickly becomes a fixture at the shop with his sharp wit and easy charm, and Brian soon finds himself looking forward more and more to Rob's visits—to the point where his heart skips a beat when he walks in.  

But will Brian be able to come to terms with his previously unexplored sexual identity and find happiness now that he has a chance?

 

 

 

The forth book in the Takeover series is the first book for me that I've read.

I actually requested this book by accident but wound up reading it because I didn't like it being left unread.

While M/M romances aren't really my thing I can tell its a decent book for those who do enjoy them. Its written well, the characters are intriguing, and the sex scenes are explicit for those who enjoy a well detailed love scene. Just wasn't my favorite genre.

 

Anna Zabo

 

 

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/da-vincis-tiger-laura-malone-elliott/1121228362?ean=9780062231710&st=AFF&2sid=Goodreads,%20Inc_2227948_NA&sourceId=AFFGoodreads,%20IncM000004http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/da-vincis-tiger-laura-malone-elliott/1121228362?ean=9780062231710&st=AFF&2sid=Goodreads,%20Inc_2227948_NA&sourceId=AFFGoodreads,%20IncM000004
 
 
 

 
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Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews received a digital copy. All thoughts, comments and ratings are my own.

Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews received a digital copy in exchange for an honest review via Netgalley from Berkley Publishing.

 

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review 2017-02-09 17:22
My Sister Rosa - Justine Larbalestier
My Sister Rosa - Justine Larbalestier

Mind blown, again, by the endlessly adaptable Larbalestier. Personality disorders are the worst. Loved it so much I had to reread Liar, also set in NY. (As an aside, the way she writes about physical activity is so compelling, I'm ready to devote myself to running, or boxing. Something. Almost ready. Will be ready after a nice nap with the kitties.)

And also, I appreciate so much that the cast of characters isn't exclusively white, or straight, or able-bodied, or neurotypical, or mainline Christian. Her modern world feels like the one I live in, is all.

I can't wait to see what she publishes next.

Library copy

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review 2017-01-18 20:42
Another Day - David Levithan
Another Day - David Levithan

Many stories move too quickly for characters to stop and think, but I always love seeing thought on the page or on the film. There’s a lot of thinking here. Faced with an extremely weird situation, a highschool student stops, repeatedly, to consider fresh information and fresh experiences, to see how they fit in: is she comfortable with this? How does that work? Would you really? And also, friends are terribly important to the story, which could easily be ignored in favor of a love triangle.

It's a very grounded and realistic book for one with such a high-concept basis.

Library copy

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review 2017-01-09 18:13
Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love, and Writin - Jennifer Weiner
Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love, and Writin - Jennifer Weiner

I've enjoyed a couple of Weiner's books, but more than her storytelling, I really admire her activism. I lost patience with people ragging on women's writing and writing for women a couple of decades ago. And don't get me started on genre snobbery. I READ POPULAR BOOKS. And so does every highbrow apologist, because the only writings that have survived from previous centuries, let alone millennia, were POPULAR. And it is my belief that writers who worked for pay on deadline, with quick turnaround, are the best.

So I remember many of Weiner's efforts to speak out against the quiet, systemic sexism that denigrates what women do as somehow less valuable than men's. Women young through old are responsible for most of the books read and sold in the U.S., but do they get the majority of the bylines, reviews, or awards? No, they don't even get half. VIDA's got the numbers and they're appalling, as is the fact that the worst offenders do not even have to apologize, because who cares? And the most prestige, the most coverage, the most work continues to go to het white men that no one enjoys reading.

Anyway, Weiner is funiest when writing of the worst times of her life. Her family is screwed up in mostly charming ways. She is always clear that writing is a job, and for anyone interested in following her advice, she presents a refreshingly clear-eyed training plan. So that's all great. But I love the bits when she is actively fighting for justice: I hope she's proud of that work. I hope her daughters are, too.

Library copy

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