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review 2018-02-16 22:01
Muffin to Fear
Muffin to Fear (A Merry Muffin Mystery) - Victoria Hamilton

I always love catching up with Merry and her friends and I've been eagerly awaiting cracking this one open. I liked that it took the time to set up and introduce the new characters (the tv crew.) In many cozy mysteries, someone is murdered right at the beginning of the book and there's so little context that I find I don't connect as well to the story. While the dysfunctional TV crew squabbles were tedious at times, it really helped to develop the characters and by the time the murder happened, I was already firmly hooked. Lots of twists and turns kept me guessing and lots of small details that I had to keep track of kept me engaged. Add in Merry's grace and humor, her delightful friends Hannah and Lizzie, a madcap crew of ghost hunters (I love ghost hunters shows!) and a surprise twist at the end and you have one satisfying read. It was every bit as good as I expected from this author, and a great addition to the series.

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text 2018-02-12 21:51
Widen your horizons
The People's Republic of Amnesia: Tiananmen Revisited - Louisa Lim

Last year, I decided that I wanted to try my best to learn about different countries and cultures. I became especially interested in China and their Cultural Revolution. (You may recall Do Not Say We Have Nothing.) To that end, I picked up The People's Republic of Amnesia: Tiananmen Revisited by Louisa Lim which is a work of non-fiction that culls firsthand accounts from those who lived through that time and documents how their lives were subsequently changed. The biggest takeaway I had from this book was that I know next to nothing about the history of China...and most of its people can say the same. There has been so much collusion and cover-ups that most people are unaware of the true nature of historical events that occurred in their country. And those that would tell the truth are hushed up one way or another. The government's control works under the guise of "stability of the nation" which keeps the populace blind and even afraid of digging deeper. There is also a fear of the West because of massive political and cultural indoctrination that has occurred over several years. The seasons of political and cultural change can easily be marked by the different people in power. The party 'line' made it imperative that change be accepted by each and every citizen. Firsthand accounts from those who participated in (or lived through) the Cultural Revolution (more info on that here) illustrates the power wielded by those in power. All of these people are still being monitored and silenced. They can never advance in their careers which in a money obsessed country like China spells a certain shunned existence. It was a powerful, eye-opening experience reading this book. It has only increased my interest in learning about new places and people. If you're not a huge fan of nonfiction because you find it too dry then this would be an excellent one to give a shot as it reads more like a work of literature. 10/10 for the obviously thorough research and excellent writing.

 

What's Up Next: The Little Virtues by Natalia Ginzburg

 

What I'm Currently Reading: I've Got This Round: More Tales of Debauchery by Mamrie Hart

Source: readingfortheheckoft.blogspot.com
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review 2018-02-05 23:09
Nothing to fear but fear itself? Not for the people in these books.
Deep Dark Fears - Fran Krause
The Creeps: A Deep Dark Fears Collection - Fran Krause

I'm going to cover two books in this post. They're the first two books of a series and I read them a few weeks apart at the end of last year. (Yes, I'm still working on reviews from last year. Yes, I am annoyed with myself.)

 

The first book is Fran Krause's Deep Dark Fears which is an adult graphic novel. The majority of the content is gleaned from submissions received by the author on his website although a few are from his wife and himself. As the title suggests, this is a collection of fears harbored by people and then put into a comic format. (The illustrations are really great by the way.) And while these are legitimate fears that people have they're not all totally scary. Some of them are so out there that they're humorous...although to the person who submitted it I guess it's not funny at all. From the content, it seems that the majority of people developed these fears/phobias when they were still children from adult family members who told them horrifying things. Note to adults: Please think about what you're telling your kids because you never know what they'll hold onto and how they'll twist it in their minds.

 

An example of the 'fears' illustrated inside. [Source: Bored Panda]

 

The second in the series is called The Creeps and it continues the thread of bringing to life some of the most bizarre fears you can (or maybe can't) imagine. I have to say that one of them freaked me out so much that I had to put the book down for a while. (It was about AI.) I also learned that something I had thought was universally known is not in fact known to many people outside of the Southern United States. When you or someone you know has a sudden shiver have you ever explained it by saying, "Someone just walked over my grave."? Now imagine if you had never heard that and then someone said it to you in an offhand manner. Would that totally freak you out? A lot of the things that people are scared of seemed quite niche and silly while others were super dark and gory. It's a really great mixture.

 

See how creepy this is to the unfamiliar? [Source: Bookspoils]

 

Both books are really quick reads that can be devoured in a single afternoon (or train ride). I especially liked that they were presented in the form of a graphic novel instead of in short story format. Both books combined were a 10/10 if you're into creepy dark humor.

 

What's Up Next: Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods: 20 Chilling Tales from the Wilderness by Hal Johnson

 

What I'm Currently (Re)Reading: The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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text 2018-01-28 00:24
Reading progress update: I've read 1 out of 436 pages.
The Sign of Fear: A Doctor Watson Thriller (A Dr. Watson Thriller) - Robert Ryan

who says Dr. Watson can't be the star? (be quiet, Holmes.)

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url 2018-01-23 20:47
Books to Make You Healthier
Silence: In the Age of Noise - Erling Kagge,Becky L. Crook
My Friend Fear: Finding Magic in the Unknown - Meera Lee Patel
Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done - Jon Acuff
The Yes Brain: How to Cultivate Courage, Curiosity, and Resilience in Your Child - Daniel J. Siegel,Tina Payne Bryson

From publisher's newsletter.  More books at the link.

Source: www.penguinrandomhouse.com/new-year-new-you-2018
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