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review 2018-03-17 05:16
‘Time Bomb’ is like ‘The Breakfast Club’ with an awful school bombing; suggests teens might just be ticking ‘time bombs’
Time Bomb - Joelle Charbonneau

This was an extremely fast read for me; I flew through ‘Time Bomb’ in a matter of hours, and it almost felt like I was following a similar clock to the one that was ticking away in the book. Six exceedingly different students, not unlike seen with the setup in the movie ‘The Breakfast Club’, find themselves trapped together because of the horrific circumstance of someone having set off bombs at their school (although, conveniently, school isn't quite in session yet, so there aren’t mass casualties).
The wrecked and damaged school that has them stuck inside, suspicious of each other, is a reminder of all the problems that schools represent for schoolchildren today: the gun debate because of the mass shootings inside schools, bullying, kids and their constant need to live up to certain standards, whether it’s their own or others’, unchecked mental illness, prejudice of others based on appearances...and by bringing ALL of this up in the teens’ conversations and through their own perspectives, Charbonneau makes the novel about more than just the bombs going off at this high school. The different stereotypes that the kids all fit into, serve to remind us that, right up until the end, when we find out ‘whodunnit’ all these kids are essentially ticking ‘time bombs’ waiting to go off. If not then, they could at some point. I think it’s easy to focus on the event of the bombs in this book, and kind of ignore that it’s all emblematic of the tumultuouness of teenagehood.
While ‘Time Bomb’ held my attention all the way through, I think this all could have been delved into in a more concrete way, because there were a lot of open doors to explore the hard issues that these teens were going through. Overall though, it’s a definite page-turner as far as the story and action go, with a surprise twist at the end.

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review 2018-03-16 17:26
BLANKY by Kealan Patrick Burke
Blanky - Kealan Patrick Burke


BLANKY is a powerful novella, full of grief, pain, and horrors previously unknown-those both real and imagined.


You can't let Kealan deceive you with that innocent looking cover. Any of you already familiar with his work wouldn't fall for that anyway. This is a tale that touches on everything it is to be human, both good and bad.


The time we spend with our families, even the irritating or angry times, are all something special. We may only want to focus on the fun, good memories, but that's not reality. BLANKY makes you think about, made ME think about- exactly what reality is.


With this story, be prepared to bring a piece of yourself and leave it upon the altar of Kealan Patrick Burke.


My highest recommendation. Period.


*I bought this novella with my hard earned money and reading it cost a small piece of my soul.*

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review 2018-03-16 01:01
I Stopped Time
I Stopped Time - Jane Davis

She span away from me, a sleek starling becoming one with the swirling, churning mass. Something in the way she moved - her hands raised above her head to part the crowd - made me wish I had a camera to frame her, just as she was. I blinked and, in that instant, it was as if I was experiencing a flashback, although I knew it wasn’t a memory of anything I had experienced. That was the moment I became a photographer.

Apparently, I bought this book in 2014. I remember nothing. It's been lingering on my kindle ever since and if I hadn't been looking for a book with a certain cover to fulfil one of the tasks for the Kill Your Darlings game, it would have been left unread for even longer. 


I Stopped Time really was a rare find. Having known nothing about it when I started the book, the stories of Lottie and James quickly drew me in: James is a former politician who was "disgraced" and forced to resign when a low-life paper covered his involvement with a rent boy. However, James story really begins when he learns that his estranged mother has passed away at the age of 108 and left him with forty-two boxes of, mostly, photographs.


With the help of Jenny, a young art student, James begins a journey of discovering his mother's story by examining the photographs. 


Lottie was James mother. She had reasons for leaving the family when James was still a toddler, and the reason is kept from the reader until very late in the story, until we have had a chance to get to know Lottie from her early childhood in Brighton in the early 1900s, through her formative years as a famous photographer in the 1920s, and in her old age in the late 1980s.


I mentioned in an earlier update that the story dragged a little in the middle. I no longer hold that criticism. It had to drag. We had to have time to learn about Lottie in so much detail. By taking us through Lottie's everyday life during and shortly after the First World War, Jane Davis makes us look at both labels and defiance. We follow Lottie as she learns who she is, and by doing so we get to see how identity is shaped (or not) by events and family. 

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text 2018-03-15 22:40
Reading progress update: I've read 70%.
I Stopped Time - Jane Davis

The first third of the book was great, the second third has dragged on quite a bit, tho.

I hope the last third will pull the meandering story back together without forcing too many solutions.

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review 2018-03-14 21:00
Was Doing So Well Until the End
The Time of the Hunter's Moon - Victoria Holt

I was hoping that Holt was going to surprise me with this one. Have the sensible heroine just marry the very good man that was standing in front of her. Instead we have the fact that the man had affairs and tried to rape the heroine hand-waved away by saying that she is needed in order for him to change. Bah to that noise. I really did like the plot in this one (there were two of them) and the characters were much more developed than I have found in other Holt books. Holt apes a lot of Gothic romance tropes here, but geez Louise I hated the hero in this one. I wanted him to just fall down a hole and die. There was nothing redeeming about the guy.


"The Time of the Hunter's Moon" by Victoria Holt is  another Gothic romance I can now check off my list. So far the highest rating I have given a Holt book is "Mistress of Mellyn" which I gave five stars. 


The main character in this, Cordelia, when we first meet her, is away at a school to "finish herself." She has been raised by her Aunt Patty and is looking forward to the day she is home permanently and can help her aunt run her own school. When Cordelia and her friend come upon a man in the woods, Cordelia is instantly absorbed with thoughts of him. When she finally returns home for the final time after finishing school she runs into him again and starts to think of him romantically. When he disappears without coming back to see her again she wonders what happened to him. However, she finds out that her aunt has to sell their home and Cordelia finds a position at a school which has her forced to interact with a major force in the village. The hero (I say lightly) is named Jason Verringer and he's a typical Gothic hero. Dark and brooding and just terrible. He attempts to rape the heroine at one point, and is literally shocked she cuts herself to get away from him. And then tells her if not for her, he could change. Bah dude. I wished the whole time that something would fall on his head. 


Cordelia is sensible and smart and I thought had a lot more fire than the recent batch of Holt heroines I have been reading about prior to this one.

The writing was a little too modernish at times, but I think the book is supposed to take place in the late 1800s. I don't know. Holt doesn't include any references that I can think of at the top of my head that I can use to date the book. The flow was actually pretty good until we get towards the end. Then I think Holt suddenly realized she needed to resolve two plot points and didn't do a great job with either of them. 


The ending was not set up very well. We have a mystery finally resolved about one of the male characters we were introduced to earlier in the book, but Holt throws up a couple of paragraphs and counts it as mission accomplished. I noticed with her books she was not that great at tying up loose ends in her books. 



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