logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Kensington
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-01-07 20:54
A Far Cry from Kensington
A Far Cry from Kensington - Muriel Spark

If you want to concentrate deeply on some problem, and especially some piece of writing or paper-work, you should acquire a cat. Alone with the cat in the room where you work ... the cat will invariably get up on your desk and settle placidly under the desk lamp ... The cat will settle down and be serene, with a serenity that passes all understanding. And the tranquility of the cat will gradually come to affect you, sitting there at your desk, so that all the excitable qualities that impede your concentration compose themselves and give your mind back the self-command it has lost. You need not watch the cat all the time. Its presence alone is enough. The effect of a cat on your concentration is remarkable, very mysterious.

I am trying to get to know Muriel Spark's work a little better before going to an event celebrating her work at the end of this month, so I am reading up on a few of her works because the only one I had known was The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.

 

A few books into this little project and I have a new book to use as a benchmark of her work: A Far Cry From Kensington.

 

It took me a while to get into the book. I even re-read the beginning a couple of times because I just could not make out what she was going on about. Was this a serious book or not? 

Once I set every expectation aside and just let the story unfold, it became pretty clear that not much in the book was what it seemed. Advice given by the MC, was not meant to be serious advice. On the contrary, it was mockery. The whole idea of our larger than life protagonist being singled out and put on show by any of the characters in the novel was a mockery, a spoof, and most of all an exercise in exorcism as little by little our MC finds the confidence in her own voice and her own pursuit of life to stand up to the curses that have tried to bring her down. 

 

This will probably remain my favourite Spark for quite some time. It was a suspenseful little story told expertly with a lot of wit. Yet, there was also some warmth to it, which was not something I have seen in Jean Brodie, The Girls of Slender Means, or Memento Mori.

Like Reblog Comment
review 2017-10-08 17:40
A Gritty Streetwise Story of Young Love and Life's Lies
A Few Streets More to Kensington - Alex ... A Few Streets More to Kensington - Alex Sheremet

Mature teens and new adult readers will relish a more contemporary backdrop to the traditional coming-of-age story in A Few Streets More to Kensington, which is set in New York City in the 1990s and focuses on the evolving life of Artem, whose newfound position as an artist opens up a wealth of memories on how he got to this uncertain point in his life.

 

Alex Sheremet's descriptions are poignant and pointed as we view the world through Artem's first-person thoughts and observations, which often wind past, present and future into their threads, adding an overlay of powerful imagery to cement impressions.

 

Artem's journeys between memories of the past and attempts to navigate the streets of New York to understand his world bring readers along for a stroll through memory lane and the rough face of present-day New York.

 

But there's more going on here than a walk through social situations and dangerous streets: an attention to introspective detail and dark, brooding encounters between prejudice, purpose, and people brings A Few Streets More to Kensington to life in an unusual manner powered by reflections that are thought-provoking and reveal Artem's evolutionary process.

 

By now, it should be evident that A Few Streets More to Kensington is as much a work of literature as fiction. Readers should anticipate crass language and conflicts, gritty street life, young love and life's lies, and Artem's urge to escape, change, grow, and even explore paths that are obviously dark and dangerous routes.

 

As Artem searches for elusive purpose to life, a better world, and connections, he discovers and forms a new life. In returning full circle to school, Artem finds his past, present and future coalesce as he organizes not just his room, but his mind.

 

Literature readers who relish coming-of-age sagas will find A Few Streets More to Kensington more than a cut above the typical new adult story, with entire worlds embedded into a tale of evolution and transformation that is as much about graduating as a person as it is about life's inevitable progression.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-09-27 19:00
Money Back Guarantee by Hunter Shea
Money Back Guarantee - Hunter Shea

From what I understand, this is the last of the Mail Order Massacres novella series. That's a damn shame! The first dealt with sea monkeys, the second with X-Ray glasses, and this one- a nuclear submarine ordered from the back of a comic book. You shouldn't worry though because if you're not happy with your submarine, there's a money back guarantee!

 

So what happens when Rosemary orders said nuclear sub and her son tries to take it into his best friend's pool? As you can imagine, it doesn't go very well because the sub is actually made out of cardboard. Rosemary tries to get her money back and that's when everything goes south. Is her son okay? Will she be refunded her $5.00? You'll have to read this ripping novella to find out!

 

Money Back Guarantee was a fast paced story that can easily be knocked off in one sitting. Was it fun? Hell, yeah! Was it engaging? Oh yes! Was it totally believable? Probably not, but if you're looking at these kinds of books, believability is probably not your first priority. If what you ARE looking for is fun, then this is the novella for you!

 

I'm going with highly recommended on this one, because it's just so entertaining!

 

You can pre-order your copy here: Money Back Guarantee

 

*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-08-10 23:29
Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy #1) by Jennifer Estep
Mythos Academy Bundle: First Frost, Touch of Frost, Kiss of Frost & Dark Frost - Kensington Books

When Gwen’s mother died she was claimed by the Mythos Academy. An Academy that teaches young, magically gifted warriors to be ready to fight Chaos as has been their solemn duty for centuries

 

But Gwen, with her powers of psychometry and no magical history or culture felt very out of place among the affluent, strong and powerful valkyries and spartans of the Mythos Academy

 

And never did this rift loom so large than when one of their class is killed and her war torn peers seem to not even care. It’s left to her to investigate and find the actual truth


I can’t even begin to review this book without addressing the great big elephant in the room and the problem is it underpins a lot of the whole book.

 

A core concept of this book is that the magical kids in this school are have magical gifts based on the mythological, legendary warriors of the past. This works for the valkyries with their super strength. And the Amazons with their super speed. But then we have the Romans, Celts and Spartans… these are actual people? Also I question why your legendary super-warriors for men are actual historical people. While your magical warrior women are mythological? I don’t think it’s intentional and there’s no actual sense that there’s a magical divide between men and women: but I think it kind of sends a weird message that awesome warrior women are… well… fictional… while awesome warrior men are historical.

 

But then there’s Gwen. Gwen’s magical gift is psychometry - she can touch things and get sensation and images off it. Her mother and grandmother also had psychic gifts like this. And they are called Gypsies.

 

Argh, no. First of all that word is not neutral, it’s a slur used to denigrate, demean, insult and perpetuate no small number of myths against the Romani people. And Romani are not legendary, mythological or even historical people - they’re an ethnic group, a highly discriminated against ethnicity that faces incredible amounts of persecution as well as really damaging stereotypes. One of which is this pervasive fortune teller/woo-woo depiction - this is damaging



But to top this off, I honestly think the author may not know this. And by “this” I mean that Romani actually exist. There is no suggestion, not one tiny suggestion, that Gwen, her mother or grandmother are Romani. There’s no suggestion that them calling themselves “Gypsy” applies to anything BUT their woo-woo. There’s even a line:

 

“I didn’t know exactly what made us Gypsies. We didn’t act like any Gypsies I’d ever read about. We didn’t live in wagons or wander from town to town or cheat people out of their money.”

 

I… no… just no. Really, appropriating a slur and then trotting out of all of these insults and stereotypes while completely ignoring actual Romani people is beyond not ok.

 

Getting past this is difficult, but when you do there is a somewhat intriguing story and world here. Though I would like more development of this world. We have the concept of the pantheon and the big bad god spreading chaos which isn’t exactly original. Which is why I would have quite liked to have examined what all these gods - or what all the individual powers were and meant.

 

There were some excellent moments of examining the idea of these very spoilt, privileged kids who, at the same time, were so innured to loss and conflict, which in turn expanded on the idea of why they are being so very spoiled; indulgent parents who are very aware their kids may not reach adulthood.

 

 

Read More

 

 

Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2017/08/touch-of-frost-mythos-academy-1-by.html
More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?