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review 2018-04-19 05:23
New beginnings
Four Ways to Forgiveness - Ursula K. Le Guin

These are four loosely connected but independent short stories set at the start of Yeowe's independence from Werel, after 30 years of revolutionary war. They are the stories of people as different as they can possibly come, coming to terms. With loss, with cultural differences, with a place in society, with the past. They are all also big on starting anew. And, of course, feminism. The right to freedom, to a voice, to vote, to an education, to not be raped. These are all discussed and are an important part of the book, given the planet's recent upheaval and it's heavy history of slavery and male-dominated environment.

 

I found it bittersweet and lovely, and ended up with a huge bunch of quotes saved and a lump in my throat that I know not what to do with. There is so much wrong with this planet, so much hurt, and yet... it is so hopeful. I guess forgiveness is a kind of hope. Another chance. Much like love; another thing that permeates the book and is ever-present in every story.

 

I have closed it, as so many stories close, with a joining of two people. What is one man’s and one woman’s love and desire, against the history of two worlds, the great revolutions of our lifetimes, the hope, the unending cruelty of our species? A little thing. But a key is a little thing, next to the door it opens. If you lose the key, the door may never be unlocked. It is in our bodies that we lose or begin our freedom, in our bodies that we accept or end our slavery. So I wrote this book for my friend, with whom I have lived and will die free.

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review 2018-04-17 03:30
Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen
Bittersweet (True North Book 1) - Sarina Bowen
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I had such a good time listening to Griff and Audrey's story! I recently discover Sarina Bowen's work when I listened to and fell in love with Bountiful. As soon as I finished that book, I knew that I was going to have to go back and listen to the rest of the series. As soon as I realized that this book was about Griff and Audrey, I almost jumped for joy since they were key characters in Bountiful. I went into this book with pretty high expectations and they were met. This really was a fantastic romance.

I loved Griff and Audrey. Griff was a bit of a grump which I found completely adorable. I guess he had a few things to be grumpy about since he gave up his chance at football to come back home and run the family farm after his father's death. Farming is hard work and a lot to manage. He has taken on the responsibility of making sure that all of his family's needs are met. Audrey is passionate about cooking. She is a chef and has excellent skills. Unfortunately, her employer doesn't let her use those skills. Her current assignment is to visit farms in Vermont to get produce for the restaurants. She is determined to do what it takes to prove herself so that she can get her chance at running a kitchen.

Griff and Audrey knew each other in college. It is obvious from their first meeting that they haven't forgotten each other even though their relationship was extremely brief. These two were perfect together from the very start of the book. I loved the way that Audrey just kind of fit into Griff's world even when he didn't think she would. Audrey didn't seem to mind Griff's grouch like behavior and seemed to really understand him from the start. They had fantastic chemistry and seemed so much better together than they were apart. 

This was the first time that I have listened to both Saskia Maarleveld and Tad Branson and I thought that they did a fantastic job with this audiobook. I do really enjoy romance novels that utilize dual narrators and thought their narration styles really worked well together. They were really both able to capture their character's personality and make them come alive. I think that they were able to bring a lot of emotion into the story as well. I would definitely listen to either of these narrators again in the future.

I would highly recommend this book to fans of contemporary romance. This was a really well done story filled with characters that I grew to love over the course of the story. I had a really great time listening to Griff and Audrey find their happily ever after. I can't wait to experience more of this wonderful series very soon.

Initial Thoughts
I loved this book! Griffin and Audrey were both great characters and I loved seeing them together. Griffin was such an adorable grouch and everyone seemed to love Audrey. The narrators did a fantastic job with the story. I can't wait to listen to more of this fantastic series!

Book source: Library via Hoopla
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review 2018-03-11 19:21
The Road to Bittersweet by Donna Everhart
The Road to Bittersweet - Donna Everhart

A Historical Fiction, the Story takes place in the Appalachians of North Carolina in the 1940s. This book is beautifully written with a plot that grabbed me from the first word and well developed characters that I fell in love with. When you look at the cover of this book don't let it fool you! The cover does not do the book justice!

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review 2018-01-31 01:22
Meeting changes those that meet
The Word for World is Forest - Ursula K. Le Guin

This was gorgeous and bittersweet take on the clash of cultures, colonization, slavery. I get why it's some people's Le Guin's favorite. I actually finished it the same day I started, it so gripped me (just happened that my connection swallowed my first review and I've been sulking... I mean, one time, ONE, in about fifty, that I do not backup before hitting "post", and of course Murphy says it's the one that fails).

 

I guess it's the amount of win that is packed in so few pages:

 

Davidson being such an archetype of male, white supremacist. He calls himself a "conquistador" like an accolade. His every though chain is like a slap (he's got all the flavors: chauvinistic, racist, dismissive of scholars), and the part that makes it so grotesque is identifying actual, real people in them. Even this gung-ho attitude that he considers heroism, where I could see what passed for badass in westerns and Haggard's novels, and read in context turns into GI fanatism of the Napalm loving type *shudder* The less said about his mental juggling on not considering the natives "human", therefore not slaves, but good to rape the better (the part where it is pointed out that if he does not consider them human then he's indulging in bestialism was fucking awesome).

 

The friendship between Selver and Lyubov. This on-going theme of Le Guin of one single, personal tie across species that changes the tide, bridges culture. The first pebble of the avalanche. The hinting of irrevocable change while Lyubov is worried, right before the camp goes up in flames. The actual naming on the gift exchange scene between Selver and Davidson. The bittersweet knowledge of permanence when Selver says Lyuvob will stay, and so will Davidson. The good with the bad.

 

Real life parallels abound, but it's more than that. It has heart. It makes you think, but at the same time, it makes you feel, and question. I loved it. 

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review 2018-01-04 15:10
Heavy think
The Dispossessed - Ursula K. Le Guin

This one strained my brain quite a bit. It's a very involved book where social, political, economical structures, customs, morals, ethics, sex and peer pressure are concerned. Yeah, it runs the gamut, and befits a character that is what we'd call an activist.

 

I liked how the story is built, with the the past sections filling the motivations and giving context by contrast, and the overarching and interconnecting themes of time and journeys. And walls. Following a path, going forward with an idea, beginnings and ends, coming back home, cycles. Ever-happening change.

 

That end was so quiet, yet lovely.

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