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review 2020-03-22 02:34
The Everlasting Rose (The Belles #2)
The Everlasting Rose (The Belles #2) - Dhonielle Clayton

I’m seriously brain-fogged right now and stringing thoughts together is hard, so here’s a slightly rambly and likely unhelpful and possibly slightly spoilery review (wow, sorry, I seem to be addicted to adverbs):


This was the most boring, beautifully described revolution I’ve ever read. I guess I’m mostly satisfied with the ending, so I don’t feel like I’ve wasted my time, but I’m weirdly wishing I had the kindle version so I could see just how many times Camille describes herself breaking out into a sweat. It seemed like A LOT. Also, WTF is this romance with Rémy? Is he her rebound guy? Or does she literally fall for every guy who shows a romantic interest in her (all two of them so far)? After Auguste ripped her heart out, maybe a week goes by before she starts fantasizing about kissing Rémy. I’ll give her a pass because she is SPECTACULARLY sheltered and probably far younger than her alleged 16 years (considering how fast baby Belles grow), which makes my eyebrows go up for entirely different reasons, but what does Rémy see in her? Did he get off on her treating him like dirt for the entire first book? Is that it?


Anyway, it was okay. The ending left the possibility for another sequel, but if it ever eventuates I’ll probably skip it so I can keep my headcanon that Tyra Banks’s Modelland is set in this book universe’s future when the whole concept of the Belles has been warped and perverted into the Intoxibellas. It’s the little things that give me joy.

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review 2020-03-15 09:05
Mythos: A Retelling of the Myths of Ancient Greece - Stephen Fry

I was highly entertained and I may have accidentally learned a few things, though I wouldn’t let a student use it as a reference. I suspect it’s a different experience in audio format, but for a print book it might be a case of too much of a good thing. I found my interest flagging in the last 100 pages.

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review 2020-02-07 06:30
Once Upon a River
Once Upon a River - Diane Setterfield

It’s finally happened. I have read a Diane Setterfield book in which I liked the prose AND the plot AND the characters. The third time really is the charm, apparently. Persistence pays off! Sort of!


The story meanders like the titular river, seeming to flow slowly on the surface with hidden currents beneath. I enjoyed the fairy tale theme, but at the same time I found myself wishing that Setterfield had set out to subvert it instead of lean so hard into it. A whole lot of fairy tales and legends hinge on the suffering of women, and Once Upon a River is no exception. In fact, it plays most of the greatest hits, including but not limited to: rape, physical abuse, emotional abuse, abandonment, etc. Rita Sunday’s character journey had the most subversion potential, which is why the way she’s treated made me full-body cringe.



She starts out an educated, independent woman who is adamantly against getting married and having kids because her own mother died in childbirth, and as a nurse herself she’s seen what horrors are involved in procreation. I’m fine with that! I’m in the “Kids Aren’t For Me” club myself. I knew what to expect given the time period the book is set in, but every time another character told her she should have kids, I ground more enamel off my molars. I had such high hopes for the character at the start. She had such a great intro! Then she sits down with the mysterious girl in her lap and instantly regrets never getting married and having kids. The girl has a similar effect on everyone who touches her, but still. Rita’s personal struggle for the whole book is falling in love and realizing she wants a family but being too afraid of going through childbirth before ultimately deciding it’s worth the risk (after holding someone else’s baby “Not like a nurse. [. . .] Like a mother.” OH HOW MY EYES ROLLED).


(spoiler show)


So anyway, yay for Setterfield with her beautiful prose finally writing a book with a story that interested me. Though I have to admit, after Bellman & Black that bar was really low.

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text 2020-01-30 06:28
Reading progress update: I've read 34 out of 421 pages.
Once Upon a River - Diane Setterfield

Me reading The Thirteenth Tale: I really love the gorgeous prose, but I couldn’t give a toss about these characters or the story.


Me reading Bellman & Black: I still love the gorgeous prose, but ye gods, this is boring.


Me at the library: Oh, look! Another Setterfield book. I sure do love her gorgeous prose. Third time’s the charm???

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review 2020-01-28 13:47
The Dry (Aaron Falk #1)
The Dry - Jane Harper

It was probably a bad idea to read a crime novel set in a dying, drought-stricken, rural Aussie town when half my state is on fire and dozens of non-fictional towns are literally running out of water, but oh well. Can’t blame a four-year-old novel for being painfully relevant to current events. Depression practically oozed off the pages, and I couldn’t help thinking that if Kiewarra were real it would be cinders by now.


Depressing realism aside, I thought this was a well-written novel with a decent mystery and an interesting main character. To clarify, the present-day mystery was decent. The past mystery was a disappointing collection of violence-against-young-women tropes. Still, I’m interested enough to seek out more by Harper. I’m undecided if I want to read the sequel, though. Aaron Falk is an interesting character, but he definitely belongs to the class of crime novel protagonists in desperate need of a good therapist. I don’t know if I want to read a few hundred more pages of him not working through his abandonment issues. I hear Harper’s third book is a standalone and also pretty darn good. Maybe I’ll just skip to that one.

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