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review 2018-12-12 03:22
The Last Star by
The Last Star (The 5th Wave) - Rick Yancey

 

 

Audience: Young Adult

 

This is my body.

- first sentence

 

 

It's been a long time since I read the first book of the 5th Wave series. So long in fact, that I had to re-read the second book. But it was sooo worth it. I thoroughly enjoyed this book; it was a fitting and heartbreaking conclusion to the series.

 

Throughout the series, the characters have never been sure who the enemy is. In the end, it's about who you can trust, who you are willing to sacrifice for, and how much you are willing to sacrifice. Cassie stays true to herself until the very end; she is strong and never gives up trying to protect her family. It was fun to see Cassie and Ringer (who are complete opposites) working together to save someone and to finally get their revenge. 

 

There are some twists here that I didn't see coming and some I did. I'm enamored with Yancey's writing and storytelling ability. I will happily read anything else he writes. I noticed that this book is to be made into a movie (or maybe it already was). It is perfect movie material if they do a good job.

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text 2018-12-12 00:19
Reading progress update: I've listened 1 out of 1080 minutes.
Spinning Silver - Naomi Novik

This is the third time I have attempted this book. Maybe this time will take.

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review 2018-12-11 22:26
Book for Door 7 Mawlid An-Nabi - "On Turpentine Lane" by Elinor Lipman
On Turpentine Lane - Elinor Lipman

 

"On Turpentine Lane" sat on my TBR pile for eighteen months. I bought it in a fit of enthusiasm after reading "Isabel's Bed".  I've looked at it a few times since then and gone, "I want to read that but not today." I finally picked up because it qualified as my book for Mawlid An-Nabi in the 24 Festive Tasks challenge,

 

It wasn't the kind of book I'd expected. It was a light, mildly amusing comedy of manners kind of book but I found myself struggling with it because I found it hard to empathise with a privileged white middle-class, university educated woman in her thirties who was so hapless.

 

Her haplessness was fundamental to the humour of the book so letting it irritate me was self-defeating. Her haplessness is quite plausible. She's conflict-averse, trusting, committed to her job and looking for a quiet life. I'd probably like her if I met her. Yet I find myself irritated by her inability to use the advantage she has, which says more about me than about Elinor Lipman's writing.

 

About a third of the way through the book, the lights went on - flashing LED lights - spelling out IT'S A ROMANCE, DUMMY.

 

That explains why the heroine is intelligent, well-educated, slightly bland and completely hapless - so she can come into her own by getting together with the right guy.

Suddenly, it was all clear. 

 

The contract with the reader is that the woman should be nice, maybe too nice for her own good when it comes to dealing with her self-absorbed, hippy-boy-man-at-41 boyfriend, so that the reader can root for her and hope she'll smell the coffee and find someone worthy of her.

 

I got distracted by the bullying sexism or her employer, the apparently dark history of the house she's recently bought and my underlying lack of empathy for a woman so used to be being loved and protected by her family that she lacks basic survival skills.

 

I felt like someone reading the start of a werewolf novel and wondering why the characters, who seem prone to physical aggression when resolving status-related conflicts, are stressing about how close the next full moon is.

 

Once I settled back and let the romance roll with the appropriate level of readerly collusion. with what the author is doing, I started to enjoy myself more.

 

"On Turpentine Lane" is an odd mix of ingredients that never quite come together convincingly. Crises are triggered around apparent financial improprieties at work, mysterious deaths in the heroines house and a mid-life crisis separation between her parents. These crises stand side by side like plates spinning on poles rather than building to anything. There is no character development to speak of but there is a slow, sometimes enjoyable slide towards happy-ever-afterdom.

 

I never did get to feel any empathy for the heroine but my reflex-animosity for her lessened as I understood her family dynamic.

 

"On Turpentine Lane" was well-executed entertainment that I'm now certain I'm not the target demographic for.

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text 2018-12-11 21:48
Reading progress update: I've read 34%. - finally - a Poirot book that feels polished and assured
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd - Agatha Christie

After some dissatisfaction with the much later "Third Girl", I decided to try an earlier Poirot to see what I'd been missing.

 

"The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd" seems to be the most highly recommended Agatha Christie book. It's also the fourth Hercule Poirot book, qualifying it for Door 13 Advent in the 24 Festive Tasks challenge.

 

I'm about a third of the way through and very pleased with this book. The writing is assured and confident. The narrator, a local doctor, is a good observer and makes a great foil for the rather odd little Belgian man who lives next door to him. The murder mystery is a sort of amped-up locked room mystery with a wide variety of possible villains and some peculiar plot twists, for example how the good doctor is first made aware of Ackroyd's death.

 

I think what I'm enjoying most is that, in this book, Agatha Christie has forgone the authorial voice and is telling the tale entirely through the eyes of the good doctor. I wonder if this is a deliberate allusion to Holmes and Watson. In any event, so far it has produced a clearer and more intimate view of what is going on as well as a fresh-pair-of-eyes assessment of Poirot.

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review 2018-12-11 18:45
THE VALANCOURT BOOK OF HORROR STORIES VOL. 3 ed. by James Jenkins and Ryan Cagle
The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories, Volume Three - Charles Beaumont,J.B. Priestley,James Purdy

THE VALANCOURT BOOK OF HORROR STORIES: VOLUME THREE is the latest entry in Valancourt Books' excellent anthology series. I certainly hope they continue this outstanding tradition next year!

 

What I like best about all of these anthologies is the fact that I haven't read any of the stories before. Introducing me to new authors, some I enjoy, some not so much, Valancourt has expanded my reading horizons and for that, I will always be grateful.

 

I can't get into all of the stories but I will mention those that had the biggest effect on me:

 

THE PARTS MAN by Steve Rasnic Tem. This man is a legend and he's a national treasure as far I'm concerned. This short story had wonder and grief all mixed together and I thought it was somehow both beautiful and sad. BRAVO! (This story is original to this collection.)

 

DON'T GO UP THEM STAIRS by R. Chetwynd Hayes. I loved the tone of this tale so much I bought one of his other books from Valancourt as soon as I was done.

 

THE FACE IN THE MIRROR by Helen Mathers. A terrific little ghost story wherein the lady saves the day!

 

THE LIFE OF THE PARTY by Charles Beaumont. A sad tale of an acne-ridden boy at a school dance. The introduction to this one states that it's partly autobiographical.

 

BLOOD OF THE KAPU TIKI by Eric C. Higgs. A creepy little story with an ending that made me chuckle.

 

THE BOTTLE OF 1912 by Simon Raven. A man returns home after WWII after serving as a spy. He returns with the hope of seeing his family again and celebrating with a special bottle of wine.

 

BEELZEBUB by Robert Westall. Next to THE PARTS MAN , this was my favorite story in the collection. Robert Westall was super talented and I wish he had written more tales in the dark fiction vein because I've loved every one of them I've read.

 

Once again, Valancourt Books knocks it out of the park! Consistently full of rare stories that offer up a diverse range of horrors-this anthology has something for everyone. This, the third in a series of anthologies containing authors that Valancourt has already published, is as much of a MUST-READ as the first two.

 

THE VALANCOURT BOOK OF HORROR STORIES: VOLUME 3 receives my highest recommendation!

 

You can order it and other fine books directly from Valancourt here, with FREE shipping from now until the end of 2018: VALANCOURT BOOKS 

 

 *I received an e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.* 13 likes

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