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text 2018-11-09 08:00
Friday Reads - November 9, 2018
Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World - Rachel Ignotofsky
Poppy Field - Michael Morpurgo,Michael Foreman
Let the Circle Be Unbroken ( logan 2) - Mildred D. Taylor
Princess Elizabeth's Spy - Susan Elia MacNeal
A Gentleman's Game (Romance of the Turf) - Theresa Romain
Love's Unfading Light: Historical Christian Romance (Eagle Harbor Book 1) - Melissa Jagears,Naomi Rawlings,Roseanna White

My kids' school had their fall book sale; Sophia got a My Little Pony Early Reader book, Joshua got a Beast Quest book and a box of rocks (comes with a booklet to explain the different rocks). Then I picked up for both of them Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World and Poppy Field.

 

This weekend we will be out adventuring around our town, taking in the different activities going on for Remembrance Weekend. On Monday I am taking a trip to London to see Chicago the Musical; since I am not driving, I hope to get some reading while traveling. Glad I got my flu shot this week. 

 

With the Festive Task game underway, I am trying to catch up so I can add up my points for the doors opened so far. I am halfway through Let the Circle Be Unbroken and Princess Elizabeth's Spy, so they are the priority right now. Then it is on to A Gentleman's Game and Love's Unfading Light.

 

Happy Veterans' Day to my brothers and sisters in arms. Happy reading to everyone! See you all on Tuesday.

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review 2018-10-13 12:54
Circus girl joins a boarding school
Poppy Pym and the Pharaoh's Curse - Laur... Poppy Pym and the Pharaoh's Curse - Laura Wood

This was a load of fun.  The story Poppy Tomato Pym had always heard about her past was that the magician in the circus had pulled her from his hat.  The Circus is her life, her family, but she's 11 and she has an offer of a school scholarship to a boarding school and her family aren't about to say no.

 

She's not prepared for it and they're not prepared for her but she has to adapt and her friends Kip and Ingrid help.  When an Egyptian exhibit starts in the school and one of the main exhibits, a ruby that is reputed to be cursed goes missing, Poppy has to investigate.  

 

The story deals with the plausability of the whole thing well, glosses over some details and occasionally implies real magic but without being heavy-handed about it all.  It dealt with homesickness and found family and it was a hoot.

 

Using it for the Baker Street Irregulars square.

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text 2018-10-02 18:45
September 2018-That's A Wrap!
Doorbells at Dusk: Halloween Stories - Adam Light,Gregor Xane,Josh Malerman,Jason Parent,Evans Light
Cross Her Heart - Sarah Pinborough
Thirteen Days by Sunset Beach (Fiction Without Frontiers) - Ramsey Campbell
The Haunting of Hill House - Shirley Jackson,Laura Miller
We Sold Our Souls - Grady Hendrix
The House by the Cemetery (Fiction Without Frontiers) - John Everson
Cockblock - Ramona Master,Roderick Hunt,Roderick Hunt
Drawing Blood - Poppy Z. Brite,Matt Godfrey
Hex - Thomas Olde Heuvelt
The Devil's Fingers - Hunter Shea

I read 13 books in September! 

 

Graphic Novels

 

Lucifer Book 3 by Mike Carey 5*

 

Total: 1

 

Audiobooks

 

We Are Legion (We Are Bob) by Dennis E. Taylor, narrated by Ray Porter 4*

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, narrated by Bernadette Dunn 5* (HB)

Drawing Blood by Poppy Z. Brite, narrated by Matt Godfrey 3* (HB)

Cockblock by C.V. Hunt, narrated by Ramona Master 4*

 

Total: 4

 

ARCS/Reads for Review

 

Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough 4* (HB) 

Doorbells At Dusk edited by Evans Light (Anthology) 4*

Thirteen Days at Sunset Beach by Ramsey Campbell 3* (HB)

We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix 5* (HB) 

The House by the Cemetery by John Everson 3.5* (HB)

Slimer by Harry Adam Knight 5* (HB)

The Devil's Fingers by Hunter Shea 4* (HB)

 

Total: 7

 

RANDOM READS

 

Hex by Thomas Heulvelt (Buddy read with Lillelara) 3* (HB)

 

 

Horror Aficionados Mount TBR Challenge:

Challenge: Read 40 Books Already on my TBR

(I'm failing miserably)

 

1. City of the Dead by Brian Keene

2. The Warblers by Amber Fallon

3. October by Michael Rowe

4. It's A Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad World by Curtis Lawson

5. Bad Pennies by John Leonard

6. Cold in July by Joe Lansdale

7. Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill

8. Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

9. Hex by Thomas Heuvelt

Running Total: 122

 

Books read for Halloween Bingo: 9

 

 

 

 

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review 2018-09-23 07:25
National epic from hell
The Poppy War - R. F Kuang

Uff da, that ended with some bleakness. I was half expecting ur usual boarding school matriculation maybe with a little national epic thrown in (and that isn't a bad description of events if you're being literal) but boy, howdy does The Poppy War fuck that shit up. It's like a trick where you're expecting one kind of narrative, but you get another one entirely. But slow burn style. 

 

Rin is a war orphan from a nothing province who nonetheless ends up aceing a national test in a country not dissimilar to early 19th C China, which brings her to a prestigious military academy in the capital. She thinks she's made it, but she hasn't even by half; the teachers are all arrayed against her as a podunk nothing. She falls in with Jian, the professor who teaches Lore, a subject which is basically a joke. Jian is high as fuck most of the time, but in his haphazard way, teaches Rin the ways of shamanism. Shamans are thought of as nutjobs for the most part; these are rational people after all. 

 

But the country falls into conflict with the Federation, which they've been cold warring with for about a generation, since the last of the poppy wars. Rin graduates from her structured school to the chaos of war, while groping through the ugly history of her country, and the arcana of the gods that people largely don't believe in. The war is horrific; the gods more so. Nothing in school prepared Rin for the depravity of war. 

 

Readers are trained, I think, to view a first person narrator as a hero or heroine. It's basic psychology: the "I" of the text is conflated with the personal self. One can't help but interpolate oneself into the action. And Rin is a scrappy, hardscrabble kind of person, one who deserves the sense of hard elation and respect when she overcomes some serious shit through some serious loss. Every choice she makes, makes sense. But hoo boy, are her choices ugly, in serial. She renders the inhuman, the inexcusable, into something legible and understandable. It's the absolute worst, and so much more horrible for its comprehensiveness. 

 

I feel like I'm giving the impression that I didn't like this novel, but that is not it at all. I'm thoroughly impressed at the portraiture of someone who, through no inherent evil or malice, ends up doing unforgivable shit. Rin may not be likable, exactly, but she's admirable ... except for when her actions are not. Seriously impressive writing, all told. 

 

For sure there's going to be a sequel. I'm not even sure I want to see where Rin goes, even while I respect the path she's taken. Sheesh. 

 

*I listened to the audiobook, so I'm not sure I'm spelling names correctly. Sorry. 

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review 2018-09-21 12:45
DRAWING BLOOD by Poppy Z. Brite, narrated by Matt Godfrey
Drawing Blood: A Novel - Matt Godfrey,Crossroad Press,Poppy Z. Brite

A good old haunted house story is something I've always loved, so when the narrator of this tale offered me a chance to listen to the audio in exchange for a review, I jumped at it. Poppy Z. Brite is an author I've heard a lot about and I've been wanting to read his work for quite some time. I learned a few things while reading this book and one of them is that Poppy Z. Brite can write.

 

Trevor is a young man returning to the house where his mother and brother were killed 20 years ago. Shortly after his arrival in Missing Mile, his old hometown, he meets a young computer hacker on the run, named Zach. The two immediately feel a connection and together they go to face Trevor's childhood home. What will they find there? Is the house actually haunted? You will have to read this to find out. 

 

While the writing quality here was good, I have to admit that I was disappointed in the story itself. This is not the author's fault, nor the narrator's,  it was my sky high expectations. I expected a scary as hell story- and while there was a little darkness,  there was way too much romance for me. I don't mind explicit sex scenes, (gay or straight),  if they are integral to the story. Now I totally get the term insta-love. These two just met, one of them a virgin, and before you know it they are going at it at a breakneck pace. And going at it again. And again. The sexy times were sexy, don't get me wrong but after a while they finally led me to ask "Can we get to the horror already?"

 

Eventually, we did get to the horror, but after such a long build, it failed to move me much. I'm not sure if I was just bored by that point, or if all the romance had inured me to what should have been an exciting finale. 

 

The narration by Matt Godfrey was excellent as always, I especially loved his Jamaican accent. Yeah, mon! 

 

As I said, I did like the writing, and in a few spots it was nearly lyrical. From what I understand this is one of Poppy Z. Brite's, (now he goes by the name Billy Martin), earlier works. While I didn't find this novel to be a true horror story, I'm told his later works definitely are and I will be tracking those down in the future, maybe even the near future. 

 

Recommended, as long as you're not looking for a horror tale and you don't mind a lot of romance and sexy times! 

 

*Thanks to Matt Godfrey for the audio of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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