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Search tags: arrrrggggggghh
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review 2018-10-23 11:06
Funny and annoying
The Circular Staircase - Mary R Rinehart,Otto Penzler

I'm not much for cozy mysteries. The vaguely acerbic nosy middle aged men and women that populate them tend to annoy me. As do the comedy of errors that people being secretive cause. I get it, the very human petty selfishness that makes one try to keep hidden personal peccadilloes even in the face of serious matters and even possible danger to loved ones. Doesn't mean I enjoy reading about it, or stop me from wishing to strangle the character even if I'm enjoying it.

 

With all those caveats, where this one wins is in the humour department. People are ridiculous and inconsistent, and the amount of bits I saved where Ray observes it plainly (and when in her, somewhat obliquely) are legion, and made me laugh quite a bit.

 

I still think the Innes family took a trip down blanket stupidity where useful communication was concerned.

What did the kids plan to do if Ray had decided to leave the house?

Keeping the room secret for the day for effect was the height of hubris

Louise... just... Louise

(spoiler show)

The casual oh-so-benevolent racism also made me cringe so hard.

 

I own another of Rinehart's novels, so I might revisit. This not being my genre at all, the tone was fun.

 

And there goes my 4th Bingo. Now for black-out.

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review 2018-10-21 06:10
Surprised me
The Witch of Blackbird Pond - Elizabeth George Speare

I was not expecting to find such a flawed, three-dimensional cast and a sad grim tone in a short, children's book. I don't know why, really, since I've come across both of those separately often enough in them (Dark Materials, Little Princess) paired with the big questions too. Specially given the fact that I've been a heavy reader since my tweens, and a firm believer in that Cabal's quote "when I want to write something that I think adults will have trouble understanding, I write children books" (I'm paraphrasing, I don't have that good a memory, and she likely borrowed too).

 

Here is the deal: this was way dramatic than I expected. And when I say dramatic, I mean angst, grief, homesickness, the loneliness of being an outsider. Really sad. Also maddening.

 

It is maddening because human nature is maddening. And because everyone, MC included, are flawed people with some good qualities and reasonable ideals and opinions and stances, and some appallingly wrong mixed in, so even with the best intentions they rub the wrong way and clash, misunderstand, work at cross-purpose. And there is always a little bitch witch shit ready to hate.

 

It was an interesting read even before the context of publishing-time kicks in (though I suspect there were some interesting witch-hunt related things coming out then... wasn't The Crucible a contemporary of McCarthyism too?)

 

At any rate, it was a really good book (totally deserves those awards), and it ended all sweet, happy and neat.

 

Hey! I keep missing my read for making another bingo. At this point, I'm not even pretending to curve my mood-reading. (There is also the bit where there is no magic here, but I'll let the title excuse my being misled)

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text 2018-10-21 00:17
Reading progress update: I've read 75 out of 256 pages.
The Witch of Blackbird Pond - Elizabeth George Speare

Huh...

 

This is shaping as quite the bleak thing for a children's book. My compliments to the author for not shying from serious issues.

 

Also, I'm having some flashbacks to The Little Princess.

 

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review 2018-10-02 20:21
1K thrill ride
Under the Dome - Stephen King

That was a trip and a half.

 

For being such and unwieldy mammoth, the tension never lets up. Everything goes to shit fats and through infinite pages. Something to have in mind before taking a stab at it. Gave me quite the bit of anxiety (which is part of what I liked but, you know).

 

The set up had my mind working. I was raised in a small town, so I could more or less envision most of the human-failure troubles to come (though here they were running on a rocked fueled schedule), but some of the environmental issues I had not considered till I read about the stream. Then I knew that even in fairytale land everyone was fucked. And King does not write "friendship is magic" worlds. He likes to put the devil at the wheel.

 

There are many bit thoughts running through my head theme wise, like cooperation vs dictatorships, the cruelty of children, the old terrible memories of shame and guilt, that remark about how skewed the numbers between genders were (because who do you think gets scalded first, when the water starts heating? Duh), their positions (librarians, doctors, press, liberal priests, smart kids), guilt for bad deeds vs guilt for having enjoyed them. Also, the surprising bits that made me laugh (mostly bleak Gilligan's cuts that proved I have a very dark sense of humour) and the bits that made me suck my snot (most of Sammy Bushey, Ollie and Ames).

 

I don't know that it is a book for everybody, even King's fans, and many of the paths trailed are a rehash of The Stand in a way, but I actually liked this one's pace a lot better (grueling is not always my choice, but it's a good one when I go for thrillers or scares, so plus).

 

On the whole, there were no big surprises, but I quite like it. And I'm exhausted.

 

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review 2018-09-27 01:40
Pretty but problematic
Cinder - Marissa Meyer

I'm divided on this one.

 

I liked the writing. I liked the stab at representation and consent issues. New takes of old tales are always an interest to me, and the sci-fi slant is just more win.

 

I could not get over Earland. On his own, he undermines most of the good bits about body-autonomy, consent and chauvinistics screenings. There's this bit where the doc passes on testing the virus/cure combo on a male cyborg ostensibly because he's too old (and in his mind, ostensibly because he has a son), but then gets all gung-ho on testing the teen girl, and a female colleague implies it is because he's a chauvinistic ass. But hey, no! That woman was obviously wrong and overreacting! (oversensitive feminists!) He just knew that the immune one he was looking for would be a cyborg teen girl. He's not racist or anything. It is just a pity that the easiest way to find her was to implement a draft on a group with little body autonomy and they... well... die. The princess (and a cure... that too) must be found! He's just working with the system! Honest! (I kept thinking of The Immortal life of Henrietta Lacks, and also the Nuremberg Trials, ain't he a peach?)

 

The other bit that I did not like was the very end.

 

Cinder is overwhelmed by all the revelations and pretty much giving up, even as Earland gives her the tools to escape and a path forward (Oh yeah, and on that note, this speech is not skeevy at all

But finding you and being able to reinstate you as queen are two very different goals. I have planned this moment for a long time. I can help you.”
Cinder gawked at him as panic gripped her lungs. “Reinstate me as queen?”
The doctor cleared his throat. “I understand you are frightened right now, and confused. Do not think too much. All I’m asking is that you find a way out of this prison. I know you can do that. Then come to Africa. I will guide you through the rest. Please. We cannot let Levana win.”

) she can't even contemplate it till she thinks about her prince *eye-roll*. Yeah, the whole cheese is a bit much, but getting out of dodge? How about not needing a love interest to get the drive to stay alive? (sorry, but Bella consumed any quota of patience for that devise that I ever possessed)

(spoiler show)

 

And I knew it was a series, but I still hate books that do not resolve the main plot. I like series with myth arcs and more or less self contained volumes. I can count the amount of books I "forgave" cliff-hangers or series' hooks with one hand, so a final demotion, though this one smaller and more personal.

 

Hell, likely all the cons I wrote there are personal anyway. It likely is the perfect book for many people, and I might still read the rest. I'm just not in as much of a rush as I felt I'd be at the start.

 

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