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Search tags: grace-beside-me
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text 2018-05-24 15:06
Reading progress update: I've read 234 out of 416 pages.
A Fatal Grace - Louise Penny

OMG, it was difficult to set this book down last night!

 

I spent a couple of hours in the evening with a friend and her big lovable oaf of a dog.  She works for a Guide Dog charity and they are collecting clothing, suitcases, bedding, towels, etc. for an enormous garage sale to raise money for the organization.  I packed an huge, heavy suitcase with clothing.  Then I emptied out the bottom of my coat closet--a garbage bag of shoes!  Looking around, I saw my mom's cedar chest--with a thick coating of dust on it.  Hmmm....I can't be using whatever's in there!  Three more garbage bags of sheets, towels, blankets.  The cedar chest is empty now and I feel like I've had a weight lifted off me.

 

I highly recommend a good purge to make life look a little brighter!

 

But when I got home from my delivery mission, I had to have another visit with Inspector Gamache, and it ran a little late.  *Yawn*

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review 2018-05-21 18:05
Two sisters challenge the patriarchy in this brutal princess ‘fairytale’; ‘Grace and Fury’ is as violent as it is beautiful
Grace and Fury - Tracy Banghart

I usually have a ‘thing’ about books with images of people on the cover (is that strange?), so when I first saw ‘Grace and Fury’ with the striking, and beautiful, photo of the two girls, who are the two main characters in the book - Serina (Grace) and Nomi (Fury) - I was a bit flummoxed. I’d heard good things, PLUS the caveat is that we only see half of their faces. I could continue!

 

‘Grace and Fury’ also turned out to not be your usual ‘princess’ tale, even though YA fantasy is inundated with them, and that was my worry going in. Quite quickly, the story of Serina and Nomi was turned upside down. Serina and Nomi live in a world where women basically have no rights, and they have few choices as to what they are going to do with their lives. Serina has spent her short life being groomed to become a ‘Grace’, basically a submissive concubine for the Heir to the throne. Nomi, her sister, smarter and more rebellious, is Serina’s handmaiden, and makes the mistake one day of being caught ‘reading’ while they’re at the royal palace, but Serina takes the fall for this, and is exiled to Mount Ruin as punishment, and Nomi remains as one of the chosen Graces; they’re both suddenly severely out of their element.

 

What Serina finds though, is that the women on Mount Ruin are used for, is basically entertainment for the guards there, fighting to their deaths like gladiators. And Nomi is trapped inside a life she didn’t want, inside the palace, where although she may not have to fight for her food, instead she’s ‘competing’ for a place at the side of the Heir, something she never wanted in the first place. She is in an environment where there are few people around her, and deception by those close to her feels likely in every conversation she has. They are both life sentences that they see no immediate way out of.

 

Both sisters try and hatch plans to escape and get to each other, and they don’t know who to trust, and what’s fascinating about this novel is seeing their individual growth and self-discovery, particularly Serina’s, as they are locked inside their individual new inescapable (and very lonely) hells. The world that is created by author Tracy Banghart is particularly brutal and some of the scenes that are written on the island of Mount Ruin are especially bloody and violent; the fighting that occurs between the women is at-once survivalist but forced by the guards, and the descriptions of it are very detailed. This book certainly isn’t your usual ‘princess in the palace fairytale’.

 

We are left with a grand cliffhanger and I’m fascinated to know what happens next, especially since the ‘supporting’ characters played a big part in creating a lot of intrigue and interesting storylines. ‘Grace and Fury’ surprised me and gave me a new ferocious, if not bloody, wake-up call to the princess fairytale; these two sisters are saying a big fat ‘NO’ to the patriarchy in this one and I hope it has as strong a voice in the sequel.

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/32605766-grace-and-fury
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review 2018-05-11 02:34
ARC Review: Forgiveness by Grace R. Duncan
Forgiveness - Grace R. Duncan

I flew through this, from opening the file this morning until finishing it tonight, with grumbled interruptions for such pesky things as lunch and dinner and errands needing to be run.

The romance was slow burn, frustrating at times, and sweet at other times. The mythology is still well done, and I enjoyed catching up with the couples from previous books. 

Nine years ago, Eric's chosen mate broke their bond, and he's been in wolf form ever since, roaming the woods, thinking he can never go home again. An unexpected encounter leads him home, returning him to his human form, having to learn to be human all over again. Opposing thumbs are a tricky thing if you've been on paws for a long time. 

Soon after coming home, Eric runs into Ben, a newcomer to their pack, and finds his destined mate, the person their goddess has chosen just for him, a mate that trumps a chosen one. 

And Eric freaks out. 

Because he's a dumbass. Because he's been hurt and he doesn't trust that this one won't also leave him. 

Like I said, this was a frustrating read at times - I wanted to slap him in multiple times as Eric keeps asking for time and patience, and Ben was a fucking SAINT and kept giving Eric time and space and whatever he needed, because that's what destined mates do.

Ben has some struggles of his own - for all his life, his mother told him that the wolf within is a demon to be kept inside. I couldn't for the life of me figure out why Ben's father would choose his wife (a destined mate also, but one who never took the bite to become wolf) over his son, when he could see how much his wife's ranting about the demon-wolf hurt his kid. He never really stepped in to stop her from inflicting this emotional abuse on his son. I was ENRAGED! And then she... well, no, I won't give that away.

But Eric and Ben have friends now, and they have support, and they learn, they grow, and they accept what Diana has given them. 

I would say that this book was probably my least favorite of this series. For one, I found Eric disappearing for nine years a bit long, considering that Kim wasn't his destined mate. Secondly, I strongly disliked that both important females in this book were portrayed as uber-bitchy and had few, if any, redeeming qualities. I really don't like that in a book. 

The author has a writing style that works well for this type of book, and there weren't any lulls in the plot or any kind of big time jumps. I appreciated seeing couples from the previous books all step up to help Eric and Ben where they can - the sense of family, of belonging, is strong with this series. 

While this could be read as a stand-alone, I would recommend you read this series in order for full impact. 



** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher in exchange for an honest review. **

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review 2018-04-29 16:40
Emotive and soul-searching
Ordinary Grace: A Novel (Paperback) - Common - by William Kent Krueger

What a truly wonderful story, a novel which I started yesterday and finished today, unable to put down so engrossed was I with not only the lyrical story telling but the happy, sad and often painful content.

 

Frank Drum is a 13 year old boy growing up in the small town of New Bremen in the mid western US state of Minnesota. He lives with his mum Ruth an accomplished artist and pianist, his dad Nathan a Methodist minister, his brother Jake and his oh so talented sister Ariel who will surely set the world on fire with her virtuoso piano playing. But in this carefree summer of 1961 Frank will begin his transformation into adulthood and his future will be shaped by soon to be acquired knowledge that death can come in many forms and this visitation will shape and mould the basis of his adult life. At the centre of the story a tragic event occurs, an event that will have lasting repercussions not only on the Drum family but many of the residents of this tight knit community, where so many lives are entwined and affected by the decisions of others.

 

The author expertly captures life in a small rural enclave and is told through the voice of Frank Drum as he looks back some 40 years with sadness and warmth. The writing is sublime combining the magical elements of a "Walton's" story with reality, harshness and struggle of everyday living. Yet it is the elegance of the prose that draws the reader in, making a lasting impression and asking us to question our moral values in an attempt to understand what is really important in this life we live...."I set on the steps of my father's church thinking how much I loved the dark. The taste of what if offered sweet on the tongue of my imagination. The delicious burn of trespass on my conscience. I was a sinner. I knew that without a doubt. But I was not alone"......."And what is happiness, Nathan? In my experience, it's only a moment's pause here and there on what is otherwise a long and difficult road".........."Whatever cracks were there the war forced apart, and what we might otherwise have kept inside came spilling out"......."because I was little more than a child wrapped in a soothing blanket of illusion"......"We entered a period in which every moment was weighted with both the absolute necessity of hope and a terrible and almost unbearable anticipation of the worst"......

 

I found out about the writing skills of William Kent Krueger through my active involvement with the book social forum "Goodreads" and what a delight and pleasure this has been. I look forward to reading so much more by this great author and will close this review with yet another astute observation of the human condition...."Being dead was a thing and not a horrible thing because it was finished and if you believed in God, and I did, then you were probably in a better place. But dying was a terribly human process and could, I knew, be full of pain and suffering and great fear"......Highly, highly recommended.

 

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review 2018-04-27 15:16
Lumberjanes, Vol. 1 - Noelle Stevenson,Grace Ellis,Brooke A. Allen

For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

Loved it! An awesome graphic novel filled with adventure, hilarity, and PUNS!

Well-written and very intriguing with great artwork. This is an amazing graphic novel. 

My only complaint was the various typos in the Lumberjanes Field Manual pages, but they are pretty minor and not all that important to the overall story. 

The artwork in this book is fantastic. I really liked how all of the Lumberjanes actually look different. You can tell they weren't drawn by a man who tries to use the "Frozen excuse" ("How do you draw different women-folk who look different but are still attractive! Ah! Female characters are so hard to draw! Men are so much easier!"). Even their nose shapes are different in this one. A refreshing change to the world of comics where every woman is based off the same goddess-like archetype. Very, very well-done. 

I also really liked the story. This is a wonderful start to a series. It gives just enough information to keep you interested and wanting to read more without frustrating you with the mysteries of the plot. Perfection!

I really enjoyed the story in the book and look forward to continuing the series. 

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