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review 2018-02-19 04:43
Artemis
Artemis: A Novel - Andy Weir

I have no idea quite how to rate this book so I'm going with 3.5 stars. My first impulse was 4 because I thoroughly enjoyed it, but then I finished it, sat back and actually thought. Most of the plot wouldn't have happened if the main character Jazz hadn't been such a petulant asshole, and pretty much everything is her fault. It's hard to feel sympathy for those kinds of characters, the ones that keep making terrible life choices over and over and never seem to learn. And then in the end get away Scott free. Talk about maddening. 

 

But the writing was well done, the plot moved along at nice clip, and the science seemed sound. Not too much over the top like in the original Jurassic Park books where I wanted to gouge out my eyes every time Malcolm talked. I just wish Weir had dialed it down on the bitch scale a bit because Jazz damn near ruined everything and seemed to think she was entitled to no punishment. Talk about arrogant.

 

 

P.S. early in my marriage we had a black pug named Artemis. He was a needy shit but we loved him. 

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review 2018-02-18 15:19
Thought-provoking, Challenging, Uncomfortably Good
These fragile things - Jane Davis

Having recently enjoyed ‘A Funeral for an Owl’ by indie author Jane Davis (see review dated 2 Jan 2018), I dived further into her back catalogue and found this book (first published in 2012) and I’m delighted to report that the author’s accessible writing style again made for a really enjoyable read.

 

In particular, Davis does have a wonderful knack for developing interesting teenage characters and in this offering the central protagonist (Judy Jones) is recovering from a deliberately mundane, yet life-changing incident, in which a wall collapses on her. In fact her survival is positively miraculous. Still, the wall is a very effective metaphor for other constructs around self-image, relationships, indeed life and the book explores how susceptible to collapse these things can also be when buffeted by external, or self-made pressures. The stress-test that the human experience places on individuals, families and communities can be profound and the mechanisms created to defend one’s well-being can be elaborate, or at times blindingly simple. Though not meant to be a commentary on faith, Davis does at least invite the question whether spiritual faith and/or faith in each other aids the character’s ability to cope and navigate the unexpected, or whether the key is our shared humanity and the capacity for random acts of kindness.

 

For those readers with children, especially teenagers, there are interesting moments for reflection at the shifting nature of the parental relationship, but also a potentially visceral empathy with Judy’s parents and the impact of the kind of news for which we all live in a state of dread. But, if subsequently the child then purports to experience visions, how does one react to that?

 

At its core the book focuses on the experience of loss – of health, identity, belonging, an anticipated future - and the attendant bereavement. The interlacing of aspects of the characters’ individual and collective journeys is cleverly handled by the author, though for me the slightly bizarre departure from the rails of Elaine Jones (Judy’s Mum) was an unnecessary distraction. Yet, all-in-all a fascinating and thoughtful novel, which does emphasize the potential corrosion of loneliness, however it may be imposed.

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review 2018-02-15 19:01
Feast for 10 - Cathryn Falwell

Feast for Ten is a good book based on math. I think it does a good job of telling a story and also including math. It is very easy to follow and the illustrations are great. I feel this book would be great as a read aloud. I do however wish the book allowed for more complex thinking for readers so that they could think on. I would read this around thanksgiving to relate the book to the holiday and student's own family feasts. As I am reading this book to my class I would count the corresponding number of items on the page. I would follow this up with math centers or a math activity that supports counting up.

Guided Reading Level: E

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review 2018-02-14 03:14
Throwing Stones (Glasgow Lads on Ice #1)
Throwing Stones (Glasgow Lads on Ice Book 1) - Avery Cockburn

I have no idea what curling is and honestly it always looks boring as hell in the Olympics, but it's Glasgow Lads! I'm in!

Update:

And now that I've read this, I still don't understand curling, LOL, except to say that it is a lot more complicated than it looks. The author is kind enough to include a crash course at the end and she gave detailed play-by-plays during the competition sections, but as I've never even watched more than a few minutes of any game - and that was years ago - I had a hard time picturing what was going on. Still, Ms. Cockburn was very good at making the stakes clear at all relevant points and that's what really mattered more than anything else.

Anyway, this is another great story from Ms. Cockburn, and we even get a few cameos from the main series. Oliver is an ex-curler from Canada trying to start over in Scotland as a coach for Team Boyd. Luca is the leader of Team Riley, the rival of Team Boyd. He's also the brother-in-law of Team Boyd's leader, Jack. Oliver has ADHD and Luca lives a Zen lifestyle on and off the ice. They appear polar opposites on the surface, but they click immediately and their stories end up paralleling each other in interesting ways.

This is a little insta-love since the story takes place over a week, and it seems especially quick since Luca identifies somewhere on the ace spectrum though he's not really sure where. So the quick pace was a little off but in the end didn't bother me too much since we actually get ample page time of the two getting to know each other since they initially agreed not to start anything because of the conflict of interest. Of course, that doesn't last long - and for those of you who need steamy sex, you're going to be disappointed. There's one sex scene and it's vague on details, focusing instead on the emotional components, which means it was right up my alley. :D

Oliver and Luca have their own baggage and challenges, and some of their decisions, especially Luca's, were frustrating but in a realistic way. I don't need my MCs to be infallible, and these two definitely aren't. I do need them to learn and grow, and Luca and Oliver do that by spades.

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review 2018-02-08 05:00
The Puritan Pirate (Pirates of Port Royal #1) by Jules Radcliffe
The Puritan Pirate - Jules Radcliffe

3.5 stars I think is a fairer rating. 

Everything goes oh too well for our characters. Even the most evil event leaves (physically) only bruises and sore muscles. Not that I am complaining, mind you. 


Another minus for me is the unfinished business. Killjoy, Chacal, Spanish in general - those are still loose ends. I almost wish there was less talk and love making.... oh, who am I kidding!

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