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review 2017-03-27 02:40
"Our revels now are ended."
Hag-Seed - Margaret Atwood

I should have read The Tempest ahead of this, but I was over-eager in my excitement at getting my greedy little paws on a copy of Margaret Atwood's Hag-Seed. It worked out in the end, though, because she so kindly explained the basic plot of The Tempest at the end of the book, which helped clear up some of my questions.

 

Hag-Seed starts off a bit slow, with the betrayal and then multiple chapters of Felix sinking into delusions of the daughter he lost living with him. That is why this book, which I actually really loved, is a 4-star read and not 4.5 or 5. After 75 pages, I was actually thinking I might DNF this one, which is a very, very rare occurrence for me as I am stubborn and unable to let go of books once I start reading them.

 

Then I decided on a whim to push on, anyway.

 

Boy am I glad that I did. I recognized many of the basic elements of a good revenge plot as I read and, as Felix helped his prisoners, and thus the reader, get more familiar with the story of The Tempest, I slowly began to pick up on the lines Atwood had drawn between her characters and Shakespeare's.

 

Of course, the end result of a modern take on an old story is that the basic character, plot, and world development have been done, they just need embellishing and cleaning up a bit. We'll call that the gold paint on the cloak, for those who get the reference. This, I think, Atwood did very well. I felt bad for Felix, certainly, after what was done to him in the name of getting ahead, but also felt his madness just as Prospero in The Tempest was also a bit mad, and even questioned if he had gone too far at times. I think my favorite was 8Handz, though, for reasons I don't want to list here because it would give away too much of the story.

 

Overall, if you're a fan of retellings and/or Shakespeare, I would say to give this one a go. General Margaret Atwood fans may be a bit more split.

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text 2017-03-27 00:45
Reading progress update: I've read 254 out of 527 pages.
Charles Darwin: A New Life - John Bowlby

Hilarious contradictory couple of pages about how sociable Darwin was: He "withdrew from society" shortly after moving to the country from London. He "had many friends" but only one was local and the others were all scientists that he mainly corresponded with. "Had many visitors" - again mainly fellow scientists - but would only meet them for 1/2hr per day because doing so provoked stomach pains (probably caused by anxiety driven hyperventilation). This is the area where I was doubtful Darwin met the criteria for an autism diagnosis - I am nearly convinced he was autistic, now. More evidence of social difficulties will be decisive in my mind.

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text 2017-03-26 23:34
Reading progress update: I've read 33 out of 301 pages.
The Alchemy of Stone - Ekaterina Sedia

wow. I already love Mattie, my new favorite mechanical girl, the emancipated alchemist automaton. this Steampunk tale also features characters called Soul-Smokers, and living, stone gargoyles--and I've only just started! I keep putting off the last book in a Fantasy trilogy, but even though I want to get that wrapped up so I can call it done, plus free myself up to new Fantasy and SF series, that twinge of regret I had over ignoring the Canavan book for a little while longer is now gone. so...this seemingly wonderful book starring an artificial girl who knows her potions, a nonfiction book, a couple of Crime & Mystery books, and then Canavan's trilogy wrapper-upper. even in the face of that, I'm already thinking about when I can get to the other Ekaterina Sedia book I have stashed--seeming like a wise investment.

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review 2017-03-26 23:32
The Last Bell, by Johannes Urzidil
The Last Bell (Pushkin Collection) - Joh... The Last Bell (Pushkin Collection) - Johannes Urzidil,David Burnett

Pushkin Press continues to do sterling work by retranslating and republishing European fiction with Johannes Urzidil’s The Last Bell (translated by David Burnett). The Last Bell includes five stories by a mid-century Czech author who got lost in the shuffle of history. In these stories, Urzidil writes about life in Prague in the late 1930s (before he himself fled Europe) and in the old Austro-Hungarian Empire before World War I...

 

Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for review consideration.

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review 2017-03-26 19:48
It Happens All the Time
It Happens All the Time: A Novel - Amy Hatvany

By: Amy Hatvany

ISBN:1476704457

Publisher: Atria

Publication Date: 3/28/2017

Format: Hardcover

My Rating:  5 Stars

 

One of my all-time favorite authors, Amy Hatvany returns following Somewhere Out There (2016) with her most emotional and timely book yet: IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME — an exploration into two different experiences of rape.

View the author's powerful video. Author, wife, mother, friend, rape survivor.

A girl. A guy. Childhood friends. Consent. Rape. Their families. A tragedy which changes everything. A desperate need for justice and revenge.

There is one thing (well, more than one) you can come to expect from Amy Hatvany: She is not afraid to tackle tough issues of the heart, with honesty and superbly researched topics —critical for today’s contemporary woman, no matter the age.

Amber Bryant and Tyler Hicks have grown up together. Best friends from an early age through teen years. Their parents were friends. Ty comes from and abusive father. The Bryants took Ty and his mom under their wing and have always included them in family activities.

Amber has had food and self-esteem issues throughout her life. Tyler battles his self-esteem issues with his father. Amber always thinking she is fat, to the point she almost lost her life. It is a topic her parents to this day are sensitive about when they note her eating habits.

Tyler has always been her very best friend. He has always been in love with her. The feeling has not been mutual. From Amber’s side, it is more friendship, not love. Now Amber has graduated from college and is engaged to be married. She returns home to visit with her family and runs into Tyler. Tyler stayed in town and become a local paramedic.

Both Amber and Tyler are experiencing things in their own individual lives. Both are troubled in different ways. Even though Amber is engaged to med student Daniel, Tyler is excited to have his old friend back in town. Deep down he always hopes he has a shot. Amber starts second guessing her decision to get married.

They go out and have too much to drink, which leads to a sexual encounter. Things get out of control and Amber says, “no.” Tyler does not stop. This devastating experience changes the dynamics of this couple and everyone close to them, including their family, forever.

Hatvany explores both sides of the story, combined with her own raw emotion and personal tragedy. A sense of powerlessness and self-destruction behavior.

Amber doubts herself. How could this have happened? Her best friend. How could not remember the events and how they unfolded? What happened to consent? She soon becomes obsessed with taking the matter into her own hands. She will force him into admitting what he had done. Was he more like his dad than he wanted to admit?

The characters grapple with themselves as well as one another. Exploring healthy and unhealthy ways people respond to and recover from trauma, including revenge, therapy, obsession, denial, eating disorders, drug abuse, sex, support groups, social withdrawal, exercise, legal action, and violence.

 

A compelling look at a topic of rape; which is brushed under the radar more often than we may expect. Especially when the victim knows the other party.

Furthermore, when the parents are friends and the person is someone you have trusted your entire life, and now has betrayed you. Shattered lives. Someone will have to pay for the injustice.

Often the law fails the victim. More than one will have to possess the courage to step up and admit their mistakes and be prepared for the consequences. When events are not always black and white. Moral lines are crossed.

Powerful storytelling. Emotionally gripping. Struggling with the aftermath of rape, and domestic violence.

For fans of Diane Chamberlain, Heather Gudenkauf, Jodi Picoult, Liane Moriarty, Jennifer Weiner, and Sarah Pekkanen. An ideal choice for book clubs and further discussions. Another winner by Hatvany!

On a side note: When posting a review, I often link to the previous book, read by the author. However, when I scrolled back to reference all the books I have read by Hatvany, I noticed each book was a "5-star rating!" How often does an author consistently deliver consistent quality, high-charged absorbing and timely issues?

It is rare. Why I wanted to include all the book reviews here by the author, for those of you which may be new to Amy Hatvany. An author you will soon move to the "top" of your favorite author list. Each book one is uniquely different with a critical takeaway message.

2011 Best Kept Secret
2012 The Language of Secrets
2012 Outside the Lines
2013 Heart Like Mine
2014 Safe With Me
2016 Somewhere Out There

A special thank you to Atria and NetGalley for an early reading copy. Stunning cover. Would make a great movie.

JDCMustReadBooks

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/08/19/It-Happens-all-the-Time
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