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text 2018-08-19 11:41
Reading progress update: I've read 132 out of 260 pages.
The Professor - Charlotte Brontë

Knowing French might be helpful, but I'm getting the basic idea without - possiby losing some nuances.

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review 2018-08-19 03:23
Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger (audiobook)
Curtsies & Conspiracies - Gail Carriger,Moira Quirk

Series: Finishing School #2

 

This second installment of the finishing school series is still fun. There's an extension of the first plot where we discover what the prototype was ultimately supposed to be used for, and there's lots of stuff with vampires.

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review 2018-08-18 16:38
The examination of others that leads to the self
Invisible Man - Ralph Ellison

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison is another title from the list of 100 books compiled for the Great American Read. (Have you voted today?) I feel somewhat chagrined that I had never heard of this classic until I checked out this list. The reader follows a nameless narrator who tells the story of his days in college while living in the South to his move to New York City. As this is set in 1930-40 the racial/social divide is still quite stark even in the North and the author doesn't pull any punches in that regard (i.e. expect violence). The beginning starts out with our narrator underground and in hiding although we have no idea why. In explanation, he weaves a story full of brutality, bigotry, backstabbing, and political machinations. He leaves college and goes to NYC where he is recruited into the Brotherhood which purports to strive for equality among all men regardless of race. Events unfold quickly and he fully believes and embraces the cause. The fomenting of racial riots are underway in Harlem (his district) and at this pivotal moment he is pulled out of his district and sent on another assignment downtown. The reader is kept on their toes and always wondering (as the narrator is) just which side is the "right" side and what is truly motivating the men he has come to trust in this (to him) foreign city. What is the "true" self and how does one embrace it? Invisible Man chews this question over while telling a story of one man coming to terms with the racism (both overt and covert) of society which is told so convincingly that you'll forget it's a work of fiction at times. This is a dense book and took me far longer to read than I expected. Several interesting points were made and quite a few powerful passages but overall it doesn't rate higher than a 6/10 for me.

 

A compelling and thought provoking point:

"For history records the patterns of men's lives, they say: Who slept with whom and with what results; who fought and who won and who lived to lie about it afterwards. ...only those events that the recorder regards as important that are put down, these lies his keepers keep their power by." - pg 439

 

There are quite a few covers but I like this one best.[Source: National Book Foundation]

 

 

What's Up Next: Comics Squad: Recess! by Jennifer L. Holm, Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Dan Santat, & Raina Telgemeier

 

What I'm Currently Reading: ???

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-08-18 14:44
Creature by Hunter Shea
Creature (Fiction Without Frontiers) - Hunter Shea

Creature by Hunter Shea
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kate Woodson's life is not what she expected. Once being a very active and lively woman, she now is a victim of her own body. Happiness is a thing of the past, however Andrew believes they can find some form of it in Maine, where a lake-house becomes available for the summer. The married couple thus set off, eager and full of hope, desiring the serenity of nature. Nature has other plans, however, as something resides within the dark, and it seeks their undivided attention.

(WARNING: This review contains minor spoilers.)

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I thank Flame Tree Press for giving me the opportunity.

I couldn’t help but notice the high amount of praise from the horror community regarding this particular Shea novel, so I was quick to jump aboard that train and request it myself. What immediately became apparent was how disturbed I felt right from the get-go, but not in the typical sense that relates to the genre. Rather, it was the very real and disquieting portrayal of Kate that provoked such a response. To have such a chronically ill main character was almost a shock to the system; I can’t say I’ve witnessed something to that extent during my travels into the dark. Her every waking moment was a challenge, and I couldn’t help but feel that this was, potentially, a very personal topic for the author - it was the in-depth, almost intimate account of Kate’s suffering. Upon reaching the end, I discovered I was correct, in that autoimmune diseases are a very familiar antagonist in Shea's life. No wonder the writing held such passion.

First and foremost, let me state that the plot put an incredible amount of emphasis on the relationship between Andrew and Kate, which very much included the hardships and struggles that frequented their day to day life. I was warmed by their tenacious bond - something most of us yearn for, yet their marriage wasn’t without its share of problems. The painfully realistic and unwanted thoughts that often plagued their minds were a relatable aspect that only padded out their already authentic depiction. It was fairly easy early on to discern just how dependable this book was on characterisation and atmosphere; the first fifty percent was rather uneventful in terms of monsters and gore. I’m not saying there’s no horror, because there was a great deal of it, but some of it required a deeper look into what was presented. As for the creature itself when it came into play, well, it certainly got my mind theorising as to what exactly it was and its origins. At first I believed it to be something typical, but I was surprised to discover it wasn't as obvious as I initially assumed. I favour a good, creative approach to any plot, and this was no different.

This being my first experience with Shea's work, I was thrilled by the reckless abandon in which he penned his violence. There's something special about carnage that has no boundaries in terms of who's going to end up as a corpse, and I felt that spark of excitement whilst anticipating the brutality that would come next. It was worth it - to follow these very real individuals into chaos.

I can honestly say that this proved to be great read, and it nearly reached five stars. My hesitation however lies in the ending and my lack of emotion at what ultimately transpired. By the life of me I can’t explain why I didn’t feel much of anything, but I do massively rely on my feelings to dictate the final outcome. It's a shame, considering my attachment up until that point. Perhaps I found it too abrupt; the fate of those that survived probably would have proved more satisfying.

In conclusion: I became quickly engrossed in this undeniably character-driven tale. I felt connected to the characters and their relationship, and it was as if I was a member of their family. The straight-forward prose was able to convey the harshness of their reality, which induced a lot of emotion within me. It was the ending that I became detached, but in the scheme of things it mattered little when I thoroughly enjoyed the journey to get there. Oh, and Buttons was a hero.

Notable Scene:

Andrew grabbed the doorknob and was about to twist it when he stopped, suddenly unsure. He took a deep, steadying breath and tried again, heart thudding, skin crawling, at war with himself but knowing deep down he had to see. More than anything, he had to see what was out there.

© Red Lace 2018


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Source: redlace.reviews/2018/08/18/creature-by-hunter-shea
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review 2018-08-18 12:29
A Can of Peas (Lake Emily, Book 1)
A Can of Peas - Traci Depree
I really enjoyed this book. It's about a young man named Peter whose grandfather just passed away. He has many fond memories of helping his grandfather on the farm in Minnesota and wonders why his father didn't stay there to take over the farm. He resents his father, who is a musician, for always moving around while he was growing up and for missing his grandfather's funeral. Peter is between jobs and he and his new wife Mae are staying in her parents basement, which hasn't been ideal. Mae's mom doesn't think Peter is good enough for her and Mae ends up leaving with their mother-daughter relationship in ruins. Peter's Grandmother mentioned one day that her husband Roy had always hoped someone in the family would take over the farm and Peter thinks that is what he wants to do. He talks to his wife and his grandmother and they decide on a trial period to see how it goes. Mae finds out very quickly that outsiders have a hard time fitting in with small town folks where everyone knows everyone's business. Peter loves farming but has a hard time keeping up and is worried about paying back his operating loan. The story continues to tell of some of their trials on the farm. 

I really like how the author inserted short chapters in italics that tell a small story from the past just before a chapter where that person is involved in the present. That allows the reader to get to know the people in the small town and how they relate to one another. You learn a little bit of history right when you need to. The stories are very well written and make you feel for the people in the story. After reading this book you are left wondering what's next and there are two more books "Dandelions in a jelly jar" and "aprons on a clothesline". 

This isn't just a book about farming. It's about being new and and trying to fit in where newcomers aren't welcome. It's about love.... and family. It's about coming through difficult times unscathed and knowing you are not alone in the world.
 
 

 

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