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review 2017-11-21 04:44
Juliet's Answer
Juliet's Answer: One Man's Search for Love and the Elusive Cure for Heartbreak - Glenn Dixon

I found the premise of this book engaging—a High School English teacher from Canada takes a journey to heal his broken heart to a place famous for its literary romantic roots. But Dixon's real-life story of unrequited love did not feel genuine to me; the friendship so far from a romance that it almost seemed invented for the sake of the story. While I especially loved the idea that there are people who write letters from Juliet, I wondered why they would let someone so inept in a relationship offer advice to anyone. In contrast, the other letter writers seemed so thoughtful and sincere, their carefully crafted notes proved they were really just sounding boards for the letter writer, while Dixon seemed to revel in his own awkward responses. I kept thinking I would be disappointed if I took the time to write a letter and got a response back from him. The classroom scenes that are interspersed with the ones set in Italy follow the arc of Dixon's tale too neatly; honestly, I would have preferred the entire story told in Italy, since the people Dixon meets are lively and fun, and far more interesting than the bland woman he is pining for back home. His description of Verona, though, is terrific, the city came alive for me and truly made me want to experience it myself.

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review 2017-11-20 21:57
Artemis
Artemis: A Novel - Andy Weir

Rating: 4.5 stars

 

What's so cool about this book?

 

This book has a moon heist. Yes, I said a moon heist.

 

It has a diverse cast with a  Saudi Arabian woman as your hero and main character. She's a smart-mouthed smuggler. She is highly intelligent, witty and makes some colossally stupid yet entertaining mistakes. 

 

This book has camaraderie, humor, action. It's just a fun read. 

 

Oh did I mention the guy who wrote The Martian wrote it?

 

Definitely recommend.  

 

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinion that I found this to be a great science fiction caper is my own. 

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review 2017-11-20 15:54
The Liars' Asylum
The Liars' Asylum - Jacob M Appel

This is a collection of eight short stories. Each one is solid and thought-provoking. They're tales about the frustrations of romantic love. For me, nothing seemed to be missing from any of the stories. I really liked "Prisoners of the Multiverse" which tells the tale of a suicidal physicist and his top student, and "The Summer of Interrogatory Subversion" which is about a young girl turning eighteen and her mother renting out their basement to a graduate student who looked like a medieval shepherd and who was deemed creepy by the girl's best friend.

Thank you to Netgalley and Black Lawrence Press for a copy of this book.

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review 2017-11-20 13:26
Fools and Mortals
Fools and Mortals - Bernard Cornwell

by Bernard Cornwell

 

From the well-known Historical fiction writer is a story about players, actors on the stage, in the time of Elizabeth I. Women were still played by men and the brother of Will Shakespeare, Richard, is continually given women's roles with his brother's company. Between getting to be too old and taking a liking to a servant girl in a great house where they are to perform, Richard tries everything he can think of to get his brother to give him a male role.

 

Themes of dominance between brothers are fully explored in this story and I couldn't help but have sympathy for Richard, who, as a significantly younger brother, is constantly in his brother's shadow.

 

I don't know if Shakespeare really had a brother but I'm not going to look it up. I enjoyed this story and Richard was a likable character. Will Shakespeare came over as a callous, unfeeling brother, most of the time. Whether there i any accuracy to this is anybody's guess.

 

The story gave a good look at the life of players in Shakespeare's time and I found it was my preferred read among several books I've been reading at once. It is undeniably well-written and has plenty of excitement and a few laughs.

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review 2017-11-20 13:08
First Person
First Person: A novel - Richard Flanagan

by Richard Flanagan

 

Penniless Tasmanian writer Kif Kehlmann is hired to ghost write a memoir for a corporate criminal, Siegfried Heidl, in six weeks. His research to write the autobiography takes a frustrating form when his subject is reluctant to answer questions that might only further incriminate him when he's already facing prison.

 

The need for money keeps Kif on board, even when his better judgement tells him to walk away. The story is told in first person, in a style reminiscent of old detective noir, yet portraying a man who was anything but in control of his own destiny.

 

The story takes a while to get to the meat, but slowly Kif starts getting inside the mentality of a professional con man who doesn't really want the actual details of his life story displayed so much as a comfortable fiction that will serve his purposes.

 

As the struggle to glean details goes on, Kif starts to question everything he thinks he knows about his world, even who he is, why he got married, how he feels about having children and why he calls himself a novelist when he's never managed to finish a novel. Worse, Heidl begins to tell the truth.

 

This is a real psychological mind bender that falls into place gradually, the details of what physically happens secondary to the play on perceptions. I found it interesting, but depressing.

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