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review 2017-11-05 08:00
Shiver
Shiver - Maggie Stiefvater

Normally I'm not that into YA books including vampires/werewolves etc. But I heard a lot of positive stories about this series by Maggie Stiefvater, so I thought: Lets give it a try.


It didn't disappoint me at all. I liked it. It was a easy reading, nice story. Different from what I'm used to read, but fun though. The story wasn't very complicated, I'll admit that, but it can by nice every once in a while to read a more simple book. It can be really enjoyable. Probably also a good read during the summer vacation.

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review 2017-11-02 04:17
A Tangled Mercy
A Tangled Mercy: A Novel - Joy Jordan-Lake

By: Joy Jordan-Lake 

ASIN: B01M7XPCYE

Publisher: Lake Union 

Publication Date: 11/1/2017 

Format: Kindle

My Rating: 5 Stars 

 

A TANGLED MERCY by Joy Jordan-Lake interweaves the painful stories of two different time periods and two different sets of characters. A captivating tale. A place of contrasts. Pain and beauty. A city both vulnerable and resilient. 

A hauntingly beautiful story of dual-timelines— a moving Southern tale: 1822 dark family secrets of slavery, and present-day Charleston, SC. From the Denmark Vesey slave revolt, and those who courageously fought for freedom. 

The strong and courageous characters who stood out to take a stand against slavery to the more recent tragic shooting at Emanuel AME in Charleston —of rage, injustice, discrimination, and violence. 

“A time for every season, you know —a time to mourn and a time to dance. Only here in the Low Country, we sometimes do both at the same time.”

Kate Drayton’s mother has passed and as a struggling Harvard grad student in New England, she decides to return to Charleston, SC — the place where her parents met. There are unanswered questions plus she needs to salvage her career in academia using her mom’s research.

Kate’s attempts to discover what drove her mother’s dangerous obsession with Charleston’s tumultuous history are derailed by a horrific massacre in the very same landmark church. In the unimaginable aftermath, Kate discovers a family she never knew existed as the city unites after horror and outrage. 

A well-researched meticulous blending of fact and fiction, the author eloquently outlines why this story is so important to her. Her passion shines through each word on the page. It is critical to be tuned into how the “past bleeds through the present at every corner.” 

As the author reiterates, it is her hope that this story of tragedy, brutality, beauty, and courage across two hundred years might be a least a small part of a conversation to have between our races. 

Where not talking is also dangerous. “Make some noise” on behalf of those whose voices aren’t being heard. Promote respectful conversations.

I appreciate the author’s specific notes how she loved American history and the South. I can envision her packing up her eight-month daughter and her adventurous husband and driving to Charleston where she fell in love with the city. There was a story to be told. And back again later with three children and a husband to finish her work. 

Engrossing! It is important to show the historical characters have changed the course of American history and why their message still matters today, particularly in a cultural moment in which people of common goodwill but different racial, ethnic and political backgrounds and perspectives are trying to be heard, and understood while attempting to move forward together. 

Astounding, the author began this journey some twenty years ago; however, rings true today in our complex world of understanding people, their roots, their past, and their hearts. 

 



As a reader, I find these components of fact and fiction make for a powerful and insightful read. The reason I myself find historical fiction so fascinating, you have a foundation of real people, vivid places, and experiences rich in history and character. 

The skill of the author is to be able to put themselves in the minds and hearts of their characters —portray which could have happened or their most intimate thoughts. Feel what they are feeling. 

Joy-Jordan Lake and her words will empower you. You cannot read this tale and not be moved in some way. A story of hope, forgiveness, and redemption. (have you read her bio)? Highly impressive. 

If you have grown up or spent time in the Low Country, you may know of its historical architecture, beauty, and charm today. 

However, as depicted in the novel, beneath the façade, there has been a turbulent history. Darkness and ugliness in contrast to the beauty. Even today in our world and cultural climate of today, we see the pain of racial injustice and a world of violence. We cannot read any news feed without devastation. 

As the author mentions her intent is not only to tell a story worth reading (which she does masterfully); but equally and more importantly to honor the memory of those in the nineteenth and twenty-first-century Charleston who have set an example of courage, conviction, and a spirit of love far stronger than hate. They need a voice. 

From outrage, pain, and horror to love, unity, forgiveness, and strength. A poignant and inspiring story of how people come together, even in their darkest hours. Crossing lines of race, income, social class, and religion. Seeking justice.

I loved the author’s reference to a foundation from a portion of the proceeds of the novel to go towards serving the families of victims, administered by Mother Emanuel.

Beyond the harrowing depths of human brutality and betrayal, their lives redemption, freedom, and forgiveness. 

A highly recommended choice for book clubs and further discussions (Reading Group Questions Included). 

For fans of well-researched historical and Southern fiction and readers who enjoy Jodi Picoult, Diane Chamberlain, Charles Martin, Karen White, Lisa Wingate and Susan Meissner. (all favorites of mine). 

My first book by the author, and look forward to reading more (and her backlist of those I missed) from this talented and gifted writer! My Top Books of 2017 and my featured Top 20 Books for Nov. 

JDCMustReadBooks 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/10/04/Tangled-Mercy
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text 2017-10-22 00:00
#30DaysofReadathon - Day 10 through 1
Is It Just Me? - Miranda Hart
The Mercy of the Sky: The Story of a Tornado - Holly Bailey
Fever 1793 - Laurie Halse Anderson
The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow - Olivia Newport
Saga, Volume 1 - Brian K. Vaughan,Fiona Staples
Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game - Michael Lewis
Liar's Poker: Rising Through the Wreckage on Wall Street - Michael Lewis
The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine - Michael Lewis
Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World - Michael Lewis
Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt - Michael Lewis

Last round.....

 

Day 10 Rainbow - IG post from COYER Summer 2017 edition https://www.instagram.com/p/BXm9lPTBN_U/?taken-by=tearainbook

 

Day 9 Spines - another IG post from COYER Summer 2017 edition https://www.instagram.com/p/BXtcs5LhArT/?taken-by=tearainbook

 

Day 8 Funny - Is it Just Me? by Miranda Hart (and it is a shame she isn't more loved by folks in the US)

 

Day 7 Sad - The Mercy of the Sky by Holly Bailey (the part when she wrote of the rescue and recovery at the elementary school killed me)

 

Day 6 Time - Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson (a great middle grade book about a yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia)

 

Day 5 Place - The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow by Olivia Newport (Chicago during the World's Fair)

 

Day 4 Plans - my bedroom will be center stage for my reading - it is the only place I can get some quiet.

 

Day 3 Break - I plan on taking a break to sleep. A short catnip can give the reader a better recharge than drinking caffeine. I plan to get a few hours over the course of the read-a-thon.

 

Day 2 New - Saga series by Brian Kl Vaughan and Fiona Staples

 

Day 1 Stack - Books by Michael Lewis I have read and recommend:

                       Moneyball

                       Liar's Poker

                       The Big Short

                       Boomerang

                       Flash Boys

                      

                      

                      

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review 2017-10-18 18:46
"Ancillary Mercy - Imperial Radch #3" by Ann Leckie
Ancillary Mercy - Ann Leckie

It's been some months now since I read "Ancillary Mercy". I held back from reviewing it, not because it wasn't good but because what made it good was so pervasive, so delicate and so intricately linked to the two preceding books, whose meaning it subtly modifies, that I didn't know where to start.

 

I'm writing this review now so that I can capture how it felt to read, "Ancillary Justice" and finish the Imperial Radch trilogy before I read Ann Leckie's latest book, "Provenance" which set in the same universe but with a very different focus.

 

Firstly, I was left with a real sense of progression and completeness that I always hope for in a trilogy but rarely get. This completeness comes not from the unravelling of a mystery or from an exponential growth of world-building but from somewhere much more interesting, the emotional growth of the main character.

 

There aren't many science fiction books I can make that kind of statement about, even fewer when the main character is an AI (although Joel Shepherd's last three books in the Cassandra Kresnove series also do this well).

 

The first book, "Ancillary Justice", Breq, an AI in a human body who was formerly the warship Justice of Toren, was alone, recovering from crippling betrayal and seeking vengeance. Even then, she seemed to me to be a better person than many of the humans she encountered.

 

In "Ancillary Sword", Breq has a command of a ship, an imperial mission and an opportunity to repay a debt of honour to the family of one Justice of Toren's officers. In that book, Breq has moved beyond simple vengeance to the consideration of just use of power and the nature of personhood. She is building relationships, administering justice and recreating herself into a person with a very different view of life than the one Justice of Toren had lived within.

 

What I liked most about "Ancillary Mercy" is that Breq not only completes the building of her new identity but, in doing so, she changes many of the people and AIs around her. Breq has replaced a hunger for revenge with something much more important, the need and ability to love and be loved. She wins the love and loyalty of her human crew. She prompts other Ships and Station AIs to consider their own personhood and desires and she brokers a the opportunity for a kind of peace.

 

I'm aware that this is not necessarily the explosive ending some people were looking for. I've seen the reviews that complain that too much time in this book is spent making tea.

 

Tea, in Breq's world, is an archetype of civilization. It is about thought, courtesy, respect, discipline, hospitality and refusal to have one's will drowned in the torrent of events. It is about making choices and exercising will. Tea is Breq's alternative to weapons of mass destruction and, in my view, shows that she has transformed herself from an intelligent military asset of the Empire into a person seeking freedom for herself and others.

 

If you don't find those ideas interesting, then this probably isn't the book for you.

 

There is, of course, more to the book than tea. There is brinkmanship, warfare, encounters with the disturbingly alien and clashes between cultures and classes that are as old as time. There is perfectly paced storytelling, that holds you in suspense but never tempts you to skip ahead and most of all there are many, many believable characters who make the story rich and credible.

 

I'm sure the Imperial Radch trilogy will become one of the classics of science fiction. I know I will read all of it again. But not until I've read "Provence" and anything else new that Ann Lecke publishes.

 

Ajoha Andoh's narration of all three books is perfect. Listen to the SoundCloud extract below to hear for yourself.

 

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/244874811" params="color=#ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true&visual=true" width="100%" height="300" iframe="true" /]

 

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-10-09 15:30
When Mercy Thompson Blew Me Away
Iron Kissed (Mercy Thompson, Book 3) (Mercedes Thompson) - Patricia Briggs

Trigger warning: Rape

 

This is the Mercy Thompson book that left me feeling raw for hours. I am glad that I got a chance to re-read it for Halloween Bingo 2017 though. I recall this book had me in tears a few times and that I loved how Briggs wrote this story and the continuation of Mercy's fallout from a brutal attack.

 

In "Iron Kissed" Mercy's boss and friend Zee is arrested for a crime that she knows he could not have committed. Though Mercy is warned off by Zee and a bunch of other people, she keeps investigating. While dealing with that, she finally has to face who she wants to be with in the future, Adam, Alpha of the local Pack or Samuel the son of the leader of the Werewolves in North America. 

 

Mercy is a fighter and when one of her friends or loved ones is in trouble, she goes all in, however, this time there are repercussions to Mercy forging ahead. Mercy is already starting to see that her feelings for Adam are stronger than her feelings for Samuel in this one, but she still feels hesitant to make a choice even though she finds out later that Adam has made a choice that will cause problems with his Pack if it's not resolved soon.

 

I know others have mentioned that it's a shame that Mercy doesn't have more real life girlfriends in this series, and I have to agree. Especially considering what happens to Mercy in this one, I am surprised that Mercy didn't reach out to her mother and her one time best friend that was mentioned three books ago. 

 

I will say that the series doesn't get better with regards to Mercy having a close female friendship. Considering how close Honey is to Mercy (or at least she is to my mind) I hope that gets resolved in the series. Or heck, have Mercy actually talk to Anna once in a while (Charles wife and mate). 

 

Adam is the best. Seriously you guys. He is the perfect book boyfriend. I loved him from beginning to end in this one. He loves and gets Mercy and nothing is ever going to change things for him at all with regards to who he wants to be with. 

 

We get appearances by many characters we know and that I love (Jessie, Warren, Ben, and Honey) and I loved each and every one of them. 

 

We get some interesting insight into the werewolf Ben in this one. I maybe cried a bit when something in his past is revealed. We get to see that though Mercy doesn't realize it, that Ben really does care about her. I did get annoyed about how Mercy treats Ben in one of the later books (River Marked #6) especially based on this scene, but at least Briggs hasn't done that again since that time. 

 

The first part of the book moves a little slow though. When we have Mercy investigating what Fae could be behind some deaths I was not invested. When all is revealed though it took my breath away. And when Mercy is raped I had to put the book down for a bit. It's a lot. Briggs spares nothing and you are wholly in Mercy's head as she deals with the fallout from being raped. I applaud how thoughtful Briggs was to write this story and how we get to see Mercy dealing with the fallout from the events in this book for the rest of the series. 

 

I have to say that I loved how things ended in this book. We have Mercy choosing to go on from what happens to her and choosing to love the man that she wants to be with in the future. 

 

 

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