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review 2017-07-13 05:15
The Shadow Mark (Lords of Davenia, #2) by Mason Thomas
The Shadow Mark (Lords of Davenia Book 2) - Mason Thomas

Warning: 
NO sex. 
NO romantic relationship or indication thereof until the very end of the book.

Come to think of it, can't call it bromance either.

All of the above are perfect for me :p

***
Very good adventure/suspense. 
My only disappointment, I never felt much for Kane. The character was pretty flat and never came to shine. 


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review 2017-06-18 15:18
The Memory of Running, Written and Narrated By Ron McClarty
The Memory of Running - Recorded Books LLC,Ron McLarty,Ron McLarty

This was so damn good! That is all.

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review 2017-06-18 15:09
The Boy on the Bridge by M.R. Carey
The Boy on the Bridge - M.R. Carey

The Boy on the Bridge is the, (at least for me), eagerly awaited prequel to The Girl With All the Gifts. This book tells the story of how the abandoned tank/lab they found in TGWAtG, the Rosalind Franklin, got to be where she was and what happened to her crew.

 

It also tells the story of a special boy on board, (who was possibly autistic?), along with the crew consisting of both military and civilian/scientific contingents. They are ordered out to reconnoiter and to collect lab samples. That's all I'll say about the plot.

 

In a way, this book is like TGWAtG, except instead of a special girl, we have a special boy. There is also the fact that we know the ending from the get-go, and I think that took away from the suspense a little bit. Lastly, I'm not sure all the science-y bits actually made sense, but even if they did I wasn't much interested in that aspect of the story. I'm more interested in the characters and whether or not they survive. Perhaps some sort of explanation was required, but I think it slowed the story down. I wanted to know more about Stephen and if what he had was actually autism or something else entirely.

 

The ending here scored BIG with me, though, and it made up for the times I thought the story was slow. Overall, I did enjoy the heck out of this story and I'm wondering if there will be another? If there is, sign me up now!

 

You can get your copy here: The Boy on the Bridge

 

*Thanks to NetGalley and Orbit for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

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review 2017-05-12 15:15
Die So Geliebte (Lei Cosi Amata)
Die So Geliebte. Roman Um Annemarie Schwarzenbach - Melania G. Mazzucco

Die So Geliebte (The So Beloved), originally published in Italian as Lei Cosi Amata, a fictionalised biography of Annemarie Schwarzenbach, on of the 1930s travel writers that I have become a fan of over the last couple of years, really quite surprised me.

 

I'm always hesitant about fictionalised biography because so many authors try to add an angle (usually a soppy romance - blergh!) that wasn't really there, so when I come across a book that does not dwell on this, is researched well, includes a lot of details and dates, and even goes to some effort to describe the research process in the afterword, it is exciting.

Of course, there are still aspects that I could criticise in the book: I still only have a vague concept of what Mazzucco describes as the betrayal of the MC (Schwarzenbach) on her family or the "disgrace" she's brought on her family, or that some of the re-imagined conversations were overly dramatic and sounded somewhat unnatural, or that some of the episodes in Schwarzenbach's life were missing, like her famous trip to Afghanistan with Kini Maillart.

 

However, these small criticisms fade when I look at the intent of the book, which was to tell the story of a young person in the 1920s and 30s who was searching for her own identity and purpose in a world that seemed to be falling apart. It was not the intent of the book to be a factual chronology of Schwarzenbach's life but to give context to it. And in this it really succeeded. 

 

(Btw, it is kinda ironic that the cover of the book is from a film called "Die Reise nach Kafiristan", which is loosely based on the trip with Maillart that is missing from this book.)

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review 2017-01-31 01:24
The Galloway Road by Catherine Adams
The Galloway Road - Catherine Adams

Renna is a young mage on her way to her first job. Her traveling companions include a pair of musicians specifically requested by Renna’s new employer, plus Brett, the mercenary hired to protect them all. Brett is closed mouthed about himself and his past, and Renna has secrets of her own. However, none of that may matter if they can't manage to survive the Galloway Road’s deadly horrors.

This story takes place over the course of 11 days and mostly features the group traveling from one inn to another. The beginning was boring, dull, and a little confusing, although the Galloway Road’s creepy atmosphere eventually grew on me, as did Renna and Brett (sort of). A word of warning: some of the descriptions are gruesome. The Galloway Road is called that because it's lined with gallows and gibbets. Sometimes the people Renna, Brett, and the musicians pass are dead, and sometimes they're not. Honestly, if I had been Renna or the musicians, Galloway Road alone would have had me questioning the wisdom of agreeing to work for Lord Galloway.

Okay, on to the characters. The musicians made so little of an impact on me that I had to check the story just to make sure I had the number of characters right - I had thought there were three musicians, not two. Brett was an intriguing character, apparently competent and yet prone to self-destructive behavior (he’d been banned from at least one or two inns because of his drinking). Renna...was just there. I never felt like I really knew her beyond the most surface level. I did gasp at the big revelation about her, but that was in large part because I hadn’t noticed any sign of it in her behavior or thoughts up to that point. This bugged me a bit, because the event had happened so recently. I suppose it could be explained away as emotional numbness on her part, but still.

The main reason I got this story was because it was one of Less Than Three Press’s recent releases in their “asexual” category. Renna was asexual, possibly homoromantic depending on the specifics of her feelings for her best friend. There was a hint of something that might have been ace-related angst - at one point, Renna wondered if she was “stone-hearted, cruel-hearted” (37). It was a bit ambiguous, though, and might have also been inspired by the thing that happened shortly before she was hired by Lord Galloway. I honestly don’t know.

I appreciated what this story tried to do, but overall my reaction was just “meh.” I didn’t care enough about the characters for the ending to have the kind of emotional impact that it should have had. Also, I hate to say this, but I laughed a bit during some of the events in the tomb. I know that stuff was probably supposed to be horrifying/scary, but I kept imagining B-movie special effects.

Rating Note:

I might have opted to give this 3 stars if I had rated and reviewed it right after finishing it. However, my thoughts have had time to settle, and I think 2 stars is more appropriate. There just wasn't enough there in terms of content, characters, or world-building.

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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