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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-08-24 14:12
Reading Anniversaries & First-in-a-Series — May Edition

 

Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on August 24, 2018. 

 

2017

 

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The Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris

 

My review said it all but if it didn’t, check out my love for Loki here!

 

 

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The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

 

My review can be found here.

 

 

2015

 

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The Dinosaur Lords by Victor Milán

 

Find the review here!

 

2013

 

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The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

 

The Percy Jackson series remains a favorite. Here’s why

 

2012

 

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Urban Shaman by C. E. Murphy

 

My review of this series is here.

 

 

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Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi

Loved the book.

 

The humor was just my style-the way the Yherajk communicated was a hoot.

 

What I also liked was that even though the MC was a smartass, he wasn’t made out to be a jaded guy or an agent who took advantage of other people to survive.

 

I was expecting a romance between Tom and Michell but Miranda was a far better choice.

 

The book wasn’t too long but just the right length which always wins points with me. Joshua was my favorite character.

 

Loved how the ending/unveiling was handled, as well as how the whole Holocaust movie was dealt with.

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text 2018-04-27 23:23
Meh
Holy Fools - Joanne Harris

I normally love novels set in this time period (17th century France), and this one should have been absolutely perfect for me. Intrigue in a nunnery, plus the heroine's backstory of being a former high-wire circus performer. What more could you ask for?

 

Well for the heroine not to wimp out at the end and go meekly back to Snidely Whiplash, er I mean the one-dimensional, moustache-twirling bad guy who kidnapped her daughter, for starters.

(spoiler show)

Grrrrr.

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review 2017-07-29 00:00
Runemarks
Runemarks - Joanne Harris,Sile Bermingham So, so, so good! I have always been big on Norse mythology, but have never really read many books about it. When I found this series, I couldn't wait to get started. I was hesitant at first, since my library only had it on audiobook, but now I'm SO glad it ended up that way! This is the first audiobook I finished, and it was much better than the first one I tried! I loved the narrator's voice, and she did an amazing job with the characters and I could easily picture the character's faces based on the emotion in her voice!

This book was so fun to read (well listen to) that it is now one of my top favorites, AND on my must-buy list! I'm also hoping to pick up Runelight and the Gospel of Loki soon, since neither are at my library.

I loved the characters and while retellings, especially of mythology, have been done before, I enjoyed this one, and have yet to read another like it! This is now to me what Percy Jackson was when it first came out! (Which I am also going to try on audiobook!)
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-05-31 16:57
May 2017 — A Wrap-Up

 

 

 

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I have been reading this series with huge breaks in between. That means, every time I start a new book from it. I am surprised anew by Dexter’s razor sharp wit and the efforts he puts into seeming “normal”. It is a good way to read this series, if you ask me. You can see both qualities in his character being used to their fullest this way. Look at the following two examples. These are from a part of the book where Dexter is called to the scene of murder of a cop. I love how hard he struggles to appear like the rest of the people and how much he has to work on things that most of us take for granted:

 

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The reason that I didn’t rate this book higher is the fact that Dexter’s monologues never seem to end. This technique works in some places and completely bombs in others.

 

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This was as much fun as I hoped it’d be. Of course, I imagined Tom Hiddleston’s voice to be Loki’s as I read the book. Loki is charming, detestable, and pathetic in turns as he narrates his own story. He also kinda has a point lol For instance, here’s what he had to say about the other deities:

 

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 The humor is threaded into the story well, so it keeps you from actually feeling the horror when horrifying things happen. Life and death don’t really matter when you are immortal-ish. The quote below describes the death of a hunter who dared to defy the Asgardians (who are described as pensioners in it):

 

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I also learned a new word:

 

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Loki’s Image

 

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Boy, this was a painful read! Not because it wasn’t good; quite the opposite. You will find my detailed review here if you’re interested.

 

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This book started off well but became too repetitive after a while. Here are some of the quotes that I liked:

 

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There are some beautiful descriptions, as well. Here is one such passage where the author describes the effect of moonlight on the jungle:

We need daylight and to that extent it is utilitarian, but moonlight we do not need. When it comes, it serves no necessity. It transforms. It falls upon the banks and the grass, separating one long blade from another; turning a drift of brown, frosted leaves from a single heap to innumerable flashing fragments; or glimmering lengthways along wet twigs as though light itself were ductile.

I think Bigwig was one character who showed a lot of growth as the story progressed. He went from being just the brawn around the leader to a rabbit who started thinking for himself. One of the many funny exchanges between Bigwig and Hazel is featured below:

 

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Here’s a picture that reminded me of Bigwig:

 

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This one was about Dexter having an affair with a movie star while being married to Rita. I liked two things about this instalment in the series:

 

One, we get to really “see” how much of a sociopath Dexter is. He doesn’t feel sorry for going against his marriage vows. Also, the only reason he goes to save his daughter is that somebody tried to take something away from him.

 

Two, we are shown more about Astor being exactly like Dexter. She doesn’t feel, loves the power she has over a pedophile, and expresses minimal sorrow over Rita’s death.

 

I have also started to worry about Dexter’s youngest now. With Rita gone, what kind of a persin will she grow up into? Did she ever have a chance to be a human being with feelings? Interesting thoughts!

 

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It would be a rare Roald Dahl book written for kids that I wouldn’t enjoy. The Witches wasn’t one of them. I loved how the grandmother dealt with every twist with aplomb. Kinda reminded me of my own grandmother who isn’t with us anymore.

 

I found the part where the little boy is reassured that he won’t outlive his grandmother and says this:

 

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One of the best things about RD’s books is how “real” they seem. The example above seems so natural; grandkids are insanely in love with their grandparents. Another example is something that many of us have felt on one occasion or the other. It is from a scene where the boy watches a doorman whistle:

 

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Oh, and I found an instance of “greased lightning” in the book! Lol

 

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The series came to an end with this book. I must say that this instalment annoyed me a lot. Dexter bumbled around like an idiot through most of it. I kept thinking that the author was going to give us a reason behind Dexter’s stupidity: mass hallucination, flouridation of the public water supply, anything! Didn’t happen. Even so, I am glad I stuck with the series until the end.

 

Two things that I liked:

 

One, mention of a certain cartoon that Astor and Cody were watching, featuring a platypus. I am going to assume it is this one:

 

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and because there would be no Perry without them, these guys:

 

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Two, Dexter’s thoughts when he gets into his lawyer’s Bentley:

 

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This is why I will always be a fan of Dexter’s razor sharp wit!

 

So far so good for the month of May. Here’s what is happening in June:

 

Currently Reading

 

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This book will mark the end of my Work Bingo. I hope it is as good as the first one was!

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text 2016-08-14 00:54
Sens - ational read
Blackberry Wine - Joanne Harris

It is an intriguing feature of the writing of Joanne Harris (author of 'Chocolat') that she deliberately soothes and entices the reader's senses with her evocative descriptions of tastes and smells. And yet, her innovative use of a bottle of wine as a narrator, perhaps extending the notion of 'character' beloved by gourmets, conferred a tongue-in-cheek, surreal quality to this novel, at times. Certainly the device raised my eyebrows initially, but the masterly story-telling by Harris ensured that this quirky element didn't detract from a wonderfully atmospheric tale.

The story centres on Jay Mackintosh, one-time acclaimed author, beset by writer's block and the expectation of a second success, mired in a meaningless relationship. In a spontaneous, but desperate attempt to break free, Jay buys a property in Lansquenet, and drops out of sight.

In a clever weaving of alternate story-lines, Jay reflects on his childhood and the influence of his journey from 'Pog Hill', amid the new chapter of his life unfurling in France. The six 'specials' (bottles of homemade wine laid down by his childhood mentor, Joe) are a tangible link with the past for Jay and seem to unlock a spiritual/magical connection, enabling the the reappearance of the ethereal Joe and his earthy counsel. 

Meanwhile, in Lansquenet, Jay is drawn to his neighbour (Marise), who is stuck in her own domestic nightmare. Are the echoes of their respective personal histories fated, or can they yet rescue each other?  This is a warm and thought-provoking novel, which invites the reader to evaluate 'what matters' in life, but also draws on the metaphor of maturing wine. "Men are like wine – some turn to vinegar, but the best improve with age". (Pope John XXIII).

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