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review 2018-11-05 19:21
The Reader / Traci Chee
The Reader - Traci Chee

Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive. The only clue to both her aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book—a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed—and punish the people responsible.

 

Librarians, pirates, and assassins, oh my! Once again, I am charmed by a young-adult author.

I loved the magic of reading & literature—quite literally in this story. Sefia, our young female main character, has inherited a Book, her only legacy from her beloved parents. Somehow, Chee makes it seem not only likely, but inevitable, that Sefia would teach herself to read this book and then use it to see the past and explore the present. Her pursuit of the truth about the Book and the loss of her parents & her aunt, lead her to follow a criminal outfit and she eventually rescues a young man who they have been forcing to fight other youngsters to the death for some obscure purpose. He is so traumatized that he is unable to speak, but his fighting prowess leads Sefia to name him Archer.

Chee writes a very egalitarian world without making a big deal about it. For those of us who grew up with fantasy where we had to have a sex change to identify with most of the characters because they were almost all male, this is a very disorientating experience! To read about an assassin, and suddenly realize, wait this is a woman! Same on board the pirate ship—there’s a ship’s boy, but also a ship’s girl, not to mention numerous female crew members. It’s all written matter of factly, and I found myself running face first into my own assumptions on a regular basis. What a pleasant change!

There is the inevitable romance between Sefia and her rescuee, Archer, but it didn’t overwhelm the main plot and was gently developed. I will be pleased to follow their story further in The Speaker.

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text 2018-10-21 17:11
PM's Halloween Bingo - Summary of Goals

Well. Not only has the Halloween Bingo been fun, it has really advanced this year's reading goals! For the game, I at least started and "finished" (with reviews) 32 books: 20 audios, 3 ebooks, and 9 bound books. Of those, I DNF'd 5 (one with the intention of going back to try again later), but completely read 27 (25 squares +2 wild cards).

 

Goals:

  • 13 books knocked off my 2018 TBR mountain
  • 10 previously unread books from my physical bookshelves*
  • 1 book from my "remembering dad" project
  • 2 Book Riot's "We Need Diverse Books"
  • 2 Banned books
  • 0 Nancy Drew
  • 0 Public Library physical books

 

Not bad for 7 weeks of reading! I do need to step up my borrowing of physical books from my public library - I borrow plenty of digital media, but I know the library depends on borrowing stats to maintain its funding. 

 

*One book from my physical bookshelf doesn't count as read/completed, because I pulled it down, looked at it closely, and decided to just put it in my donation box unread because I didn't really want to read it. It was a freebie that I picked up somewhere, years ago, and had been cluttering up my bookshelves since. It counts to my bookshelf TBR project because it's an unread book removed from my shelf. I'm only letting myself buy 1 new book for every 2 I take off my bookshelf in an effort to keep myself from being buried in books. 

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review 2018-10-11 20:58
Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury for Creepy Carnivals
Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury

The prologue begins with an opening line reminiscent of A Christmas Carol: "First of all, it was October, a rare time for boys."

 

Forty or so years ago I read this and identified with the boys, of course I did. This time I couldn't. So it was just a bunch of wordplay and monologuing and there was no horror to it anywhere, just an ad for an imaginary place I wouldn't be welcome. He did say some nice things about libraries, though, so I'm giving it a couple of stars.

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review 2018-10-01 22:44
Cat out of Hell / Lynne Truss
Cat Out of Hell - Lynee Truss

For people who both love and hate cats comes the tale of Alec Charlesworth, a librarian who finds himself suddenly alone: he’s lost his job, his beloved wife has just died. Overcome by grief, he searches for clues about her disappearance in a file of interviews between a man called "Wiggy" and a cat, Roger. Who speaks to him.
            It takes a while for Alec to realize he’s not gone mad from grief, that the cat is actually speaking to Wiggy . . . and that much of what we fear about cats is true. They do think they’re smarter than humans, for one thing. And, well, it seems they are! What’s more, they do have nine lives. Or at least this one does – Roger’s older than Methuselah, and his unblinking stare comes from the fact that he’s seen it all.

And he’s got a tale to tell, a tale of shocking local history and dark forces that may link not only the death of Alec’s wife, but also several other local deaths. But will the cat help Alec, or is he one of the dark forces?

 

  I read this book to fill the Thirteen (13) square of my 2018 Halloween Bingo card.

I am always a fan of books that involve libraries and librarians, so this book has been on my radar for a while now. So it was very handy when the black cat on the cover qualified it for the ‘unlucky 13’ choice for bingo!

If you’re a cat lover, I think this book will also make you snicker, as you discover who cats *really* report to and how much their traditional powers have lapsed! Roger and the Captain will have you giving your moggy the side-eye and listening a little more carefully to what they have to say.

But I hate to report, it’s a dog that really stole the show. Watson is Alec Charlesworth’s dog, named by his deceased wife. The quotes from Sherlock Holmes that the two of them used with regard to Watson are outstanding. For example, when Watson comes in dirty from digging in the yard, their line is, “You have been in Afghanistan I perceive.” When calling Watson at the dog park, “Watson, come at once if convenient. If inconvenient, come all the same.”

A very short, amusing horror-lite tale. Perfect for a quiet afternoon before Halloween, though you may want to put the cat out first.

 

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text 2018-09-27 20:55
Reading progress update: I've read 114 out of 288 pages.
The Librarians and The Lost Lamp - Greg Cox

 

 

This should be so much better than it is!

 

Genevieve Cogman, you have spoiled me with your Invisible Library series.  This book is pretty dull by comparison.

 

 

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