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text 2017-08-17 09:08
DNF: Beasts Made of Night
Beasts Made of Night - Tochi Onyebuchi

I received a copy from Penguin First to Read.

 

I used some of my points to secure a copy of this one. I was quite looking forward to it. While it's not bad, at 187 pages, I've come to the point where I just don't care anymore. The concept is quite fascinating. In this Nigerian inspired fantasy, the hero Taj is an Aki, a Sin Eater. The Royal Family of the fictional city of Kos are supposed to be pure and free of sin, sin comes in the form of Sin Beasts which the Aki consume and absorb into their skin in the form of tattoos. Interesting enough.

 

But there was something off about the plot and the execution of the story. I can't say I felt particularly attached to any of the characters. The world building was interesting enough but the writing was kind of flat. And the plot seemed to jump from one thing to the next. There was a barely there romance that felt way too insta-lovey for my liking. He meets with a princess once or twice and then he's fascinated with her. Understandable, but again, there was something that just wasn't there to make it work for me.

 

It's getting to the point where I'm not looking forward to finishing, and as I said early, I'm bored with and don't care enough to find out how its end. There is definite potential in the writing and as I said the world building was interesting and quite unique. While this book was not for me I would certainly be interested in seeing more from this author.

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review 2017-08-17 04:57
Son of Death (Keepers of the Gods #1) by Nikki McCoy
Son of Death - Nikki McCoy

Started well enough, but shortly after turned into pure insanity. 
For the first time ever I found myself skimming through BDSM scenes. 
Son of Death, Jamie, is a whiny little bitch who I cannot stand. The big bad Dom, Seth, is uber crazed on sex. Instead of figuring out Jamie's situation - the "little one" (seriously? kindergarten much? bleh-acck .... One bleach, here, please, 9 ounces!) has issues upon issues, not to mention there is someone out there bent on doing him in, like now - Seth does nothing but f*ck his new toys for two weeks straight. Apparently, sex is a priority. 
Nothing makes sense in this story, there is no logic to characters' actions or thought process.

Read it for a challenge. 1 star.

PS I am removing BDSM tag. What happens in this books is a hot mess; it's not sexy, it's not enjoyable and it has major issues :/
 

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review 2017-08-15 22:56
The Other Girl - Erica Spindler

I love Erica Spindler's books. I always know that I am getting a good read and a good bang for my buck. As usual, this one did not fail.

I was a little disappointed that I knew like in Chapter Two who the suspect was, but really did I know who it was? I really only knew what part she had played in the main character's, Miranda Radar, life. So the suspense was on. Lots of suspects but which was "the other girl" in Miranda's life?

I sped through this book and it seemed like the shortest 352 pages I have ever read. That's how involved I was in the story. Another excellent read by a great author. Filled with suspense, action, and a strange murder, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Thanks to St. Martin's Press and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

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review 2017-08-14 13:42
Thriller set in Brighton, maybe a little far-fetched?
The Other Twin - L V Hay

 

 

Poppy, a supply teacher in London leading a fairly dismal life, returns to Brighton when she finds out that her sister, India, has committed suicide. Not believing that this could have happened, she investigates further by seeking out her friends and reading her blog. An old boyfriend and his family all get involved in one way or another as secrets are revealed, all within the Brighton scene from its pier to the gay community.

 

A little too intricate for my liking, this novel is a page-turner, entertaining and engaging. Characters are well-developed and the book is written very much with the current social media fashion in mind. I can recommend it to all those who enjoy an easy mystery read although it would possibly suit a female readership more – a growing trend among thrillers at present.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-08-13 17:04
The Birthday of the World, Ursula Le Guin
The Birthday of the World and Other Stories - Ursula K. Le Guin

Aaaaaaaaaaaaargh! Sooooo goooooood!

 

When I learned that Le Guin's father was an anthropologist it explained a huge amount to me. Her SF "what ifs" aren't much along the lines of "what if there was magic goo that could make and fix everything?" or "what if aliens built an interstellar subway system then disappeared?" They are more along the lines of, "what if the female:male ration was 1:16 instead of 1:1?" or "what if most people were bi-sexual, with a minority of heterosexuals?" or "what would the religion of people on a generation ship be like?" or "what if everybody was an introvert?" Not much about technology, a lot about society.

 

All of these stories are excellent. In my experience it's unusual for the standard of a short collection to be so uniform (and high).

 

Serious spoilers for one story ahead.

 

The one that I want to discuss is the novella, Paradises Lost. It's a generation ship tale, putting it square in the mainstream of SF and inviting comparison with all the other such tales there have been over the decades. Earth's major religions are represented upon launch but five generations in, they have faded away, shorn of their context and therefore relevance and supporting societies. However, a new religion arises that threatens the mission, because it suggests that only the ship is real and it's Heaven.

Le Guin seems to be saying that religion is an invention that en mass humans can't do without and that it fulfills some kind of psychological need to explain and make bearable one's circumstances - and that just as inevitably people will opportunistically use it to try to gain power over others.

 

In Le Guin's made up situation, the fictional religion gives greater meaning to the lives of people who's function is merely to produce the next generation and keep them alive for an event they will either be too old or too dead to fully participate in themselves (arrival at the Destination). That meaning is that the journey is the genuinely important thing and actually arrival is undesirable.

 

To have validity, this theory must apply to real religions. I can figure it out with regard to Christianity. It's the religion of the poor and oppressed: never mind your poverty and powerlessness in this life, in the next, eternal one, you will be rewarded with endless bliss in Heaven while your rich oppressors are eternally punished in Hell. The pantheistic "spirit of place" religions such as that of the pagan Celts or of Japanese Shinto also make sense in the contexts in which they arose - an apparently incomprehensible and capricious world. Every place, every thing and every type of thing must have a controlling spirit that, whilst wilful and unpredictable can at least be negotiated with - here's my offering, please don't harm me. It seems less obvious to me regarding other religions, which might just be a reflection of my lack of knowledge. Why did Islam deviate from Christianity? What changed circumstance or new need did it satisfy? I don't know. But, to come full circle, this theory seems a very anthropological one.

 

Great stories - read them.

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