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review 2018-02-26 22:31
The Story of my Life / Helen Keller
The Story of My Life - Helen Keller

This is my “Celebrity Memoir” book to fill the Book Riot Read Harder challenge for 2018.  Helen Keller was rather famous in her day, being the first deaf-blind person to earn a BA degree.  I believe she is still admired by many in the deaf community.


I don’t suppose it is surprising that she was an avid reader, once her teacher Miss Sullivan managed to make the breakthrough that allowed Helen’s education to begin.  It was an activity that she could pursue on her own at her own speed and, like all of us, gain information on subjects that intrigued her.


I was surprised by how much she loved poetry, however.  For me poetry is very much about hearing it—I often read it aloud in order to properly appreciate it.  Since Helen was unable to hear it, she must have had a very sophisticated sense of the rhythm of the words, probably seeing many more nuances in it than I do.  I was also amazed at the number of languages that she managed to master—German, French, Latin, Greek—and I wish I had the same facility with languages.  I struggle to maintain my little bit of French and Spanish!


I couldn’t help but notice how much the natural world and companion animals were part of her life.  The smells of the garden or the seaside were ways of opening up her world and her pet cats, dogs and horses provided unjudgemental companionship.


I had hoped that this was the story of Ms. Keller that I read during my childhood, but it was a different work.  I think the book that I was familiar with was based on the life of her teacher, Anne Sullivan, and I hope to track it down some day for a reminiscent read—I remember reading it many times as a child and loving it.

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review 2018-02-14 20:24
Great book for urban fantasy lovers!
Midnight Riot - Ben Aaronovitch

I enjoyed reading this one as it featured a main character who wasn’t your typical anti-hero - which we seem to have a lot lately. I’m glad to see Peter was just your average good guy who’s doing his best to be a policeman until he comes across supernatural things in which his whole life changes.

Peter’s relationship with Nightingale is pretty much a mentor/student one. Nightingale has his own secrets though and a few are revealed but there’s more to him that you think - I hope there’s more information about him in the later books to come. There are other supporting characters; I do like Leslie because she’s got the wit (possible love interest, maybe) and she’s a perfect sidekick to Peter. Molly is another interesting character that I would love to know more about. Again this is the first book in the series so I’m hoping more character development will eventually come forth in later books.


The world building is pretty good and Peter does a good job also explaining how things are in London (I admit I had to google a couple of things as I didn’t know who or what Punch and Judy were) but it gives you information on the city and events that are common there to actually make you feel as if you are following Peter around as he tries to solve the case and becomes an apprentice.


The plot was well done and I liked how the different story arcs come together in the end into one large circle. It may seem confusing at first but once you have everything laid out and you know who is who everything comes to a close and it’s a great closing. It obviously leaves room for more books coming so one can look forward to what is next for Peter.


(The Riot scene though? Holyyyyy sheeeeeee what the……)


It’s a good read, those who are into urban fantasy mysteries will likely like this type of book. Looking forward to book two!

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-11-28 21:50
Midnight Riot - Ben Aaronovitch

In the interest of full disclosure, I've read this series out of order. I read the first comic book story, then #2 in terms of the novels.

Midnight Riot introduces us to the character of Peter Grant, who is a copper who can see ghosts but is most likely going to get detailed to data entry. Lucky for him, that sees ghosts thing saves him for a dull life in front of computer during police work he much rather push off on his friend Leslie who he wants to shag. She doesn't mind doing the grunt work even though she seems like she is a better copper, at least in terms of dealing with real people.

Anyway, Grant finds himself working with a wizard who is not Voldemort or Harry Potter or Dumbledore. His name is Nightengale, and he has a maid/something named Molly who is very senesitve about her teeth. Grant also finds himself dealing with the embodiments/spirits/gods of the various rivers and what not of London.

It is the folkloric and river beings of London that make the book most interesting. Honesty, the idea of Mama Thames as a black woman is wonderful, espeically considering the immigrantation issues and debates. I love it. Though there is a bit about the rivers that is a little, iffy, for me. Beverly is one of Mama Thames' daughters and is first described as a teenager. Then Peter has a wet dream about her. Now, I am sorry. I get Peter isn't that far out of his teens himself and that teenager can mean 18 or 19 as well. But for much of the book Beverly comes across as younger than that. I am well aware that her actual age can be far greater, but there is something about icky about Peter's reaction. Quite honesty, if he paused for just a sec to examine the whole issue I would've felt better. Additionally, I'm sorry, but I like Tyburn who is simply doing what she should be doing so why is she the bitch?

Still, enjoyable for the use of folklore and myth. There is some nice humor, and Peter grows a bit.

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text 2017-10-18 19:15
Halloween Bingo 2017 - Darkest London
Rivers of London - Ben Aaronovitch

Yay! My next bingo read has just pinged onto my Kindle.

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review 2017-09-18 17:07
Akata Witch / Nnedi Okorafor
Akata Witch - Nnedi Okorafor

Akata Witch transports the reader to a magical place where nothing is quite as it seems. Born in New York, but living in Aba, Nigeria, twelve-year old Sunny is understandably a little lost. She is albino and thus, incredibly sensitive to the sun. All Sunny wants to do is be able to play football and get through another day of school without being bullied. But once she befriends Orlu and Chichi, Sunny is plunged in to the world of the Leopard People, where your worst defect becomes your greatest asset. Together, Sunny, Orlu, Chichi and Sasha form the youngest ever Oha Coven. Their mission is to track down Black Hat Otokoto, the man responsible for kidnapping and maiming children. Will Sunny be able to overcome the killer with powers stronger than her own, or will the future she saw in the flames become reality?


Read to fill the “Diverse Voices” square of my 2017 Halloween Bingo card.

The Nigerian version of Harry Potter, with an albino Nigerian-American girl as the star. Sunny really only wants to be able to play football and attend school without being bullied, but her family has a legacy of magic that no one talks about and which is going to take her life in unexpected direction. Her talent is recognized by the friend of a friend and soon Sunny is being coached in juju, taken to the magical city of the Leopard People, and dealing with some very serious magical situations. Fortunately, she has her own coven of friends to aid and abet her in her adventures.

Here, there are leopards and lambs, rather than magicians and muggles, there is football rather than quidditch, but there is also a whole window into West African life and mythology that will be unfamiliar to many North American readers. Nnedi Okorafor is in the perfect position to open this window for us, being born in the United States with Nigerian immigrant parents. With feet in both worlds, she is able to weave a tale understandable to both sides of the divide.

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