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review 2017-06-18 21:57
A Small Revolution
A Small Revolution - Jimin Han A Small Revolution - Jimin Han

This is a pleasant surprise. It's a Kindle First book I got a few months ago, along with the audio upgrade, that had so much more to it than I expected. At it's core the story is about four college girls who are held captive by a guy with a gun for reasons that blur between the personal and the political. But this isn't about some rejected college student who wants to take out his anger by showing power, it's more of a hostages make people listen situation.

Yoona is the protagonist and I loved the way she tells the story to Jaesung. It's not done in a way that makes it sound like she is relaying it to him later and that everything is fine. She talks to him as if he is her conscience. Jaesung is another character who is not in the room with them but he is still a part of it. You know from the beginning that Jaesung has something to do with why Lloyd, the gunman, has these girls in this room at gunpoint.

I appreciated Yoona, Jaesung, and Lloyd as characters, as would-be or possible revolutionaries. I loved the niavete they possess and the way each works through that in their own way and the way the interference, or not, of parents rang true to life for me. Some are very involved, others not so much or not at all. I couldn't help but feel for Yoona, not just in that room but as other events became known. Then there's Lloyd's unraveling, what brought him to the place, what motivates his conversations with the negotiator and I loved the negotiator. Much of the book isn't even about the room they are in but the way they all came to be there and these are the scenes that surprised me most.

I enjoyed the story embodied a part of American life by being about people who were the first or second generation to be born in the US, by being about people who still have ties to the land of their parents. I appreciated it as a story about Korean-Americans, which I feel is a group we don't hear much about, but also about Korea and a dorm room in the US. The story elements fit together beautifully and the only thing I would wish to change about it was a little more denouement.

Also, I really love this cover. Its perfectly captures the feel and tone of the story without giving anything away. Every time I see the cover since finishing the book, I get a little wistful about the story and all the characters and everything they wanted to do and everything they wanted to fix about the world.

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url 2017-05-30 03:49
Free craft books in booklikes daily deals
Quirk Books D.I.Y. Gift Guide - Quirk Books
Welcome to Our Home - Knit and Crochet Ideas from Red Heart - Editors of FaveCrafts

Look in nonfiction section of daily deals (http://booklikes.com/dailydeals/free/13/non-fiction?page=1 ) then click there to go to Amazon.

Source: booklikes.com/dailydeals/free/13/non-fiction?page=1
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review 2016-12-21 19:35
Nirzona
Nirzona (A Love Story) - Bill Tucker And... Nirzona (A Love Story) - Bill Tucker And Annie Berry,Abidah El Khalieqy

I have to admit that it took a while for me to decide whether this book was worth finishing. I was captivated by the first few pages but unsure how it was going to be a love story. When the love story did start to pick up, I was unsure if I was going to like it and then I fell in love with our female lead. Firdaus is amazing. It's not that she's gorgeous, though it's obvious that all the men around her think so. It's definitely not the lovesick way that she's portrayed in Sidan's POV scenes. It's when the story shifted to focus on her that I started to really enjoy this book. Don't get me wrong, our male lead is a good guy too. They're in the situation that they're in because of his convictions about his home. Walking through the recovery of Aceh after the tsunami is heart-wrenching and sadly real. I've read more about how well-intended efforts and money donated to causes like relief and recovery get sidelined and the people in these places don't get much of it. Their leaders do, but not the people who were already poor or who lost everything unless they were well connected. I have to admire Sidan's ethics, even when given the capability to leave it all behind. I appreciate his dedication and sticking to what he feels is the right thing to do in his hometown while I understand that it is a problem for his personal life. Unfortunately, I also understand the dangers that keep a woman like Firdaus away from Aceh in that time of turmoil. It really does set up an interesting problem for our young couple. There were also several observations that Sidan makes along the way that were brilliant. He takes time to recognize what's happening to his people and just who is taking advantage of them. I highlighted several passages the reflect on his feelings toward colonialists and those volunteers who make a profit for being there. There are moments that were strange for me, like references to the A rchangel Michael and some of each character's strange dreams. I liked their inclusion because I think we all dream about the things that are on our minds as much as their troubles are, but they were strange dreams that also read strangely and not in that Wonderland or Neverland kind of way. Just strange in that way that stress dreams are just strange. Again, though, it's Firdaus. It's not just her but the way Sidan interacts with her. There's a scene, and it's a flashback so it doesn't spoil anything, where they were hanging out and it's time for her go home. Sidan offers to escort her home and she refuses that she needs to be escorted. After she beats him up about it a bit, he responds with this: Fine. Whatever you want, Lady Feminist. So that I’m not mistaken for a colonizer, so that I’m not thought to be exercising my power, so that I’m not accused of marginalizing anyone or subordinating anyone, I won’t interfere. I loved it. There are a few more scenes that I just loved her for and there's also these great references that he makes when admiring her and comparing her to the women of his home. I don't know anything about Indonesia, so it makes for quite the history lesson, especially for the feminist in me. I fell right down the rabbit hole on it with one thing leading me to another. Here they are: Admiral Keumalahayati - the first female admiral of the modern era in the world (modern because it excludes Artemisia, or so it says in the Wikipedia page. Inong Balee are mentioned but don't have a Wikipedia page or really anything that explains them in a similar way. They're explained throughout the book and mentioned in the Keumalahayati page as the group of women warriors, made mostly of war widows, who fought in the Aceh wars against the Portugese under the admiral. There was a mention of the 4 sultanas of Aceh and this is the article I found on them. Finding those led me to these: Cut Nyak Dhien - a leader of the Acehnese guerrilla forces. Semiramis - legendary female ruler of Assyria Artemisia I of Caria - Greek admiral who fought alongside Xerxes I This article about the 4 Muslim women who ruled the Maldives Getting back to the book at hand, I did appreciate the way it ended and the final chapter really made me love Firdaus all the more. I won't say more, lest I spoil it! Personally, this was a Kindle First for me for November.

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review 2016-12-19 14:01
Orchids and Stone
Orchids and Stone - Lisa Preston

This was a good book. It was intriguing and enjoyable, but not earth-shattering. This had been my March Kindle First book but I was way late in getting to it.

I went ahead and got the audio upgrade, voiced by Cris Dukehart, since it was available for just $1.99. Those have been helping get through these old Kindle First books that I hadn't reviewed in a timely manner. Dukehart was a great narrator, too. Her voice just felt perfect for Daphne Mayfield.

The book is listed as a mystery/thriller/suspense type book which isn't really my thing, but it was still a fun read/listen. Part of my issue with the genre is that it always feels a bit predictable to me, and in that, this one wasn't an exception. I felt like I knew where the overall story was going for most of it. Aside from that it follows that typical pattern all mystery novels seem to,  the parts of the story are great and the characters were amazing and written with great depth. There's also some great misdirection, and extra things that seem like clues but don't add up to anything, and blocks along the way that were totally normal but not things that I expected to see in a mystery. The ties between the back story and the plot were solid. I especially enjoyed the way some comments haunted the main character.

As a character, I really liked Daphne and identified with her as a woman working outside of expectations. I enjoyed the pieces of her relationship with Vic that were the opposite of gendered expectations and roles and the way it's even pointed out in the story. I felt like every character was someone I'd met before and I liked that about it, as mystery/thrillers go. I'm kinda over the whole super-specialized this or that type of character. I like that everyone was just a normal person and all the police procedural parts were entertaining for their absolute believably. One of the reasons I tend to stay away from this genre is all the pieces of the story that are expected to be there, like super concerned cops or the story getting the one cop who cares or the one that was amazing but just got divorced or has an problem with alcoholism after the one case they never solved. These guys were all normal and responding in ways that I would expect actual cops to respond rather than the stuff I see on television. I appreciated that even her best friend and boyfriend only humored her because of her past and that it was a bad anniversary for her.

I especially enjoyed that it was a mystery that wasn't about a cop solving a case, even though there are plenty of cops in the book. Personally, I'm sick to death of cop shows and cop stories. Don't get me wrong, I think cops mostly do as good as they can with what they have and I know that's different from county to county. I absolutely respect them, but these sensationalized crime stories are grating on my nerves and the concepts of criminals forming some sort of bond to the cop who usually gets their case and blah blah, snore. Anyway, this was not one of those stories, and I adored the cop who even pokes fun at that.

There are triggers to be concerned with in this book, specifically rape, suicide and murder. I'm not calling these spoilers though, because they are all part of Daphne's back story and revealed in the first two chapters as such. Whether or not they happen again later in the story is another matter....

Anyway, they are part of Daphne's motivation so they will come up a lot in the story as her character progresses through the plot. If these things trigger you, I wouldn't pick up the book. But then again, if they're problems, I'm sure you aren't reading mystery novels in the first place since most cover these topics.

Like I said above, I had gotten this book as a Kindle First back in March, but it's still available at Amazon for both Kindle and Audible and other places.

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review 2016-09-07 23:27
World of de Wolfe Pack: Ivar The Red
World of de Wolfe Pack: Ivar The Red (Kindle Worlds Novella) (The Wolves of Brittany Book 2) - Victoria Vane


Title: World of de Wolfe Pack: Ivar The Red
Author: Victoria Vane
Publisher: Kindle World
Series: The Wolves of Brittany Book 2
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Rating: Five
Review:

"World of de Wolfe Pack: Ivar The Red" by Victoria Vane

My Thoughts.....

I loved this second series of ...The Wolves of Brittany...featuring Ivar The Red [another Viking brother] and Lady Emma of Quimper. I also loved how Lady Emma attempts to defend her home only to find she could not "fully surrender to the conquering lord of Quimper, even when she realizes he’s not quite the devil she imagined," It was so interesting seeing Ivan the Red who had vowed not to take a Breton wife...however, when he "finds her in the clutches of death, he suddenly realizes she matters far more than his injured pride and sexual desire." I don't want to spoil it for the reader other than just saying pick up the good read to see if these two will get their HEA?

This author did a wonderful job of giving the readers a well written novella as we will be waiting for the next series: 'The Bastard of Brittany" featuring Bjorn and Gwened's story.

 

 

 

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