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review 2017-12-14 20:41
Excellent contemporary read dealing with justice, identity
Punch Like a Girl - Karen Krossing

I almost put this book down in the first quarter or so, because it starts out with a teenage girl getting violent as a way to cope with a traumatic experience that she's had (that isn't explained until the end of the book), and while I could understand and empathize with her feelings, it seemed like it was glorifying violence from a sort of feminist equality position.

 

I'm glad I kept reading, though, because the author did an excellent job of telling the story through the perspective of the teenage MC, and having her naturally progress to a different perspective by wrestling through potential approaches.

 

There's surprising dimension to this story, given that it's a pretty quick read. The MC's relationships with her friends, teammates, sibling and parents, and ex-boyfriend are all explored and developed. She volunteers (as community service) at a women's shelter with the children, and a situation there helps her grow and deepen her understanding of how to seek justice. Mildly spoilery, but the resolution manages to bring balance to her perspective, allowing that different approaches are necessary in different situations, and doubling down on the redemptive nature of meaningful relationships. 

 

Possible trigger warnings on sexual assault, physical and emotional abuse of women and children. Some violence and language; I'd rate this as PG for preteens and kids (but well worth a read if your kid is ready or if you want to co-read and talk through the ideas) and totally ok for teens 14+. This would be a great book for classrooms to teach through as well. Extremely well done (as many of the Orca Books titles). 

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review 2017-12-14 00:06
Spirit Witch (The Lazy Girl's Guide to Magic #3) by Helen Harper
Spirit Witch (The Lazy Girl's Guide To M... Spirit Witch (The Lazy Girl's Guide To Magic Book 3) - Helen Harper

After her brush with Necromancy in Scotland Ivy has been suffering some side effects - she’s not sure of the full implications, but it seems she can see ghosts

 

Ghosts are noisy and annoying and don’t respect a woman’s wish to bond with her duvet on her sofa all day

 

Some of these ghosts are not exactly thrilled to have the less-than-motivated Ivy as the one woman who can see them, but you work with what you can since she may be the key to freeing them from their purgatory - and with a serial killer on the loose targetting witches, their ghostly insight can certainly help the Order investigation.

 

This book ended and apparently this amazing series is a trilogy which means thi is the last book. No-one consulted me on this. I did not agree to this. I do not approve. This is my disapproving face.

 

But as it has ended, one thing I really liked is that Ivy is still very recognisable as the character who started this series. She’s still the Slouch Witch. She’s still lazy. She still avoids effort.

 

I’m not saying I’m against character growth or that Ivy hasn’t grown or changed. She has changed and she has grown, she has got involved. She will whine but she will get out there and help when she has to. She would just rather not do it first thing in the morning. Her talent and skill are clear as well as well as her moral compass and even willingness to sacrifice. But so many books would have taken Ivy, had her had a revelation, maybe a training montage and then have her spending late nights reading books or getting up at dawn to go to the gym. Her heroics haven’t turned her into a new person. Even her new powers haven’t driven her to embrace her new purpose in life. She’s still Ivy, laziest witch and I like that because everything that made her so unique is still there and it wasn’t treated as something to remove from the character. Again, I’m not against that kind of character growth, but I like that we kept the very essence of what makes Ivy Ivy

 

And I do love Ivy. I love that Ivy is such a perfect, ordinary person even if she does have extraordinary powers. Yes she’s fighting evil, yes she’s involved in a dangerous investigation but that core of such normality, that foundation of duvet loving, laziness makes her so relatable and real. And I just love how her talking cat fits into that - I can’t even begin to spoil it even if it isn’t especially plot relevant, it’s just too awesome.

 



 

I also like how Raphael has grown over the series - I think he still needs a little more than being the hyper-competent guy who loves Ivy. but in some ways him being this picture-perfect awesome guy he emphasises Ivy’s realness - while not overshadowing her because she can go toe-to-toe with her. I think it’s even intentional because a number of the more side characters have elements which I appreciate: from the simple dedication of the Ipissimus to even designated-rival-bad-guy actually being useful and helpful even while Ivy seethes over it. I like that, I like that even the caricature of awful is still not all bad - and that Ivy isn’t the bigger person to let this go

 

I’m also loving a depiction of ghosts as annoying pushing nuisances - as well as the whole extremely original concept of how ghosts are created.

 

 

Read More

 

 

Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2017/12/spirit-witch-lazy-girls-guide-to-magic.html
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text 2017-12-11 19:38
12 New December Books
Year One - Nora Roberts
The Pug Who Bit Napoleon: Animal Tales of the 18th and 19th Centuries - Mimi Matthews
One of Us Will Be Dead by Morning (The Final War) - David Moody
Winds of the Forest (Forestborn Book 1) - Dele Daniel
If the Fates Allow - Killian B. Brewer,Lynn Charles,Erin Finnegan,Pene Henson,Lilah Suzanne,Annie Harper
Gun Kiss - Khaled Talib
Enchantress of Numbers: A Novel of Ada Lovelace - Jennifer Chiaverini
The Girl in the Tower - Katherine Arden
No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters - Ursula K. Le Guin,Karen Joy Fowler
Taming the Alpha (Balls & Chains 2) - Amara Lebel

Winter is here. The days are getting shorter, the weather's getting chiller and we cannot find a better way out of this situation than hiding under a blanket with a book pile nearby. If you're looking for some new titles for your December reading, have a look at the following 12 new releases and let us know what are you reading this winter season.

 

 

Year One by Nora Roberts 

A stunning new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author—an epic of hope and horror, chaos and magick, and a journey that will unite a desperate group of people to fight the battle of their lives. 

 

Preorder ->

The Pug Who Bit Napoleon: Animal Tales of the 18th and 19th Centuries by Mimi Matthews 

From elaborate Victorian cat funerals to a Regency era pony who took a ride in a hot air balloon, Mimi Matthews shares some of the quirkiest—and most poignant—animal tales of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Meet Fortune, the Pug who bit Napoleon on his wedding night, and Looty, the Pekingese sleeve dog who was presented to Queen Victoria after the 1860 sacking of the Summer Palace in Peking. The four-legged friends of Lord Byron, Emily Brontë, and Prince Albert also make an appearance, as do the treasured pets of Alexander Pope, Samuel Johnson, and Charles Dickens. Less famous, but no less fascinating, are the animals that were the subject of historical lawsuits, scandals, and public curiosity. Preorder->

 

 

 

One of Us Will Be Dead by Morning by David Moody 

In One of Us Will Be Dead by Morning, David Moody returns to the world of his Hater trilogy with a new fast-paced, and wonderfully dark story about humanity's fight for survival in the face of the impending apocalypse.

 

 

New release & Giveaway

Winds of the Forest by Dele Daniel 

In the only surviving part of the earth sits the post-apocalyptic West-African kingdom of Nayja. In the only place where humans still exist lives four tribes, the Kingfishers, the Ammirians, the Rowans and the Arnazuris but one tribe is dominant and must remain so.

 

 

If the Fates Allow by Annie Harper 

During the holidays, anything is possible—a second chance, a promised future, an unexpected romance, a rekindled love, or a healed heart. Authors Killian B. Brewer, Pene Henson, Erin Finnegan, Lilah Suzanne, and Lynn Charles share their stories about the magic of the season.

 

 

Gun Kiss by Khaled Talib 

A stolen piece of history, an abducted actress and international intrigue… When the Deringer pistol that shot Abraham Lincoln is stolen and ends up in the hands of a Russian military general, covert agent Blake Deco is tasked by the FBI to head to the Balkans to recover the historical weapon. Meanwhile, the United States media is abuzz with news of the mysterious disappearance of Hollywood movie star, Goldie St. Helen. 

  

 

Enchantress of Numbers by Jennifer Chiaverini 

The New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker illuminates the fascinating life of the world’s first computer programmer Ada Byron King, Countess of Lovelace—a woman whose exceptional contributions to science and technology have gone unsung for too long.

 

Preorder->

The Last Governor: Chris Patten and the Handover of Hong Kong by Jonathan Dimbleby 

1 July 1997 marked the end of British rule of Hong Kong, whereby this territory was passed into the hands of the People’s Republic of China. In 1992, Chris Patten, former chairman of the Conservative Party, was appointed Hong Kong's last governor, and was the man to oversee the handover ceremony of this former British colony. Within the last five years of British rule, acclaimed journalist Jonathan Dimbleby was given unique access to the governor which enabled him to document the twists and turns of such an extraordinary diplomatic, political and personal drama. Preorder->

 

 

Taming the Alpha by Amara Lebel 

Welcome to Balls & Chains, a BDSM Club for gay men. Cross the threshold and see the worlds of humans and shifters collide as these alphas dominate, and betas submit.

 

 

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden 

A remarkable young woman blazes her own trail, from the backwoods of Russia to the court of Moscow, in the exhilarating sequel to Katherine Arden’s bestselling debut novel, The Bear and the Nightingale.

 

 

Killman Creek by Rachel Caine 

Every time Gwen closed her eyes, she saw him in her nightmares. Now her eyes are open, and he’s not going away. Gwen Proctor won the battle to save her kids from her ex-husband, serial killer Melvin Royal, and his league of psychotic accomplices. But the war isn’t over. Not since Melvin broke out of prison. Not since she received a chilling text.

 

 

No Time to Spare by Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin has taken readers to imaginary worlds for decades. Now she’s in the last great frontier of life, old age, and exploring new literary territory: the blog, a forum where her voice—sharp, witty, as compassionate as it is critical—shines. No Time to Spare collects the best of Ursula’s online writing, presenting perfectly crystallized dispatches on what matters to her now, her concerns with this world, and her unceasing wonder at it: “How rich we are in knowledge, and in all that lies around us yet to learn. Billionaires, all of us.”

 

Happy reading!

 

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text 2017-12-11 18:45
I've read 30% of The Only Girl in the World
The Only Girl in the World: A Memoir - Maude Julien,Adriana Hunter

 

This story is pretty brutal but not in the usual way. I'm a horror loving gal and so usually my brutal books have more to do with redneck cannibals than anything in real life.

 

In this true story, Maude Julien relates how her father adopted her mother and then later impregnated her. Maude was a result of that pregnancy. 

 

Her father did this on purpose because he set out to raise a perfect "super-human" being. The things he does to Maude throughout her childhood are horrible. She is completely isolated, (her entire family is), from everyone and everything. She has no contact with other children or any people at all, other than "The Killer", who comes to the house a few times a year to butcher livestock, which she and her mother then have to wrap and freeze. 

 

Maude has no rights whatsoever, so I think this will be a good option for the Human Rights square, number 7.

 

 

Book themes for International Human Rights Day: Read a book originally written in another language (i.e., not in English and not in your mother tongue), –OR– a book written by anyone not Anglo-Saxon, –OR– any story revolving around the rights of others either being defended or abused.
–OR– Read a book set in New York City, or The Netherlands (home of the U.N. and U.N. World Court respectively).

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text 2017-12-11 17:17
Clever And Creepy
The Girl Before: A Novel - JP Delaney

The Girl Before is a woman-in-jeopardy novel with a clever, if unlikely, premise. The woman in question is a tenant in an award-winning house designed by an obsessively minimalist landlord. With its unyielding geometry, the house is both the perfect location for a claustrophobic thriller and a handy metaphor for patriarchy.

 

The reader soon suspects that the landlord's intentions are focused on more than just architectural eminence when it transpires that his wife is buried in the grounds, that the previous tenant (the eponymous girl before) was murdered, and that the three women bear a noticeable resemblance to each other. After a certain point, however, it becomes less and less clear who exactly is doing the manipulating

 

This is not just an exercise in high-level plot mechanics. The author has a fine eye for detail and his prose is as carefully controlled as the world he evokes But, all that precision observation and all that twisting and turning still did not compensate me for the unpleasant sex scenes and the underlying bleakness of the vision. If clever and creepy is your thing, you'll probably enjoy this; but it's not my cup of tea.

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