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url 2018-01-14 16:02
Kindle Firsts (aka a free ARC for Amazon prime members) for January 2018
Tips for Living - Renee Shafransky
As Good as True - Cheryl Reid
Punishment (Detective Barnes Series Book 1) - Scott J. Holliday
Not Perfect: A Novel - Elizabeth LaBan
Twist of Faith - Ellen J. Green
The Birdwoman's Palate - Laksmi Pamuntjak,Tiffany Tsao

Oops, almost forgot to look this month.  They are all Amazon imprints again.

Source: www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/firstreads
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review 2018-01-14 03:40
Popular book that's also important look at mental illness; this one surprised me
Turtles All the Way Down - John Green

I'm really glad I got around to reading this, and I read as part of a postal book club with some book buddies. I may well have skipped this mega-popular book (I like rebelling like that) unless we had picked it, and I hadn't actually read any John Green before either. It was such a hyped book (what's with the turtles? the spiral on the cover?), that I was immediately suspicious, so I'm happy to say it was so much better than I expected it to be.
Since so many people in the book world HAVE read it, I won't summarize the premise, but I will speak a bit about the topic of mental illness, since that's the core issue at hand within the novel. Because of my own past struggles with mental illness (particularly depression and anxiety, including intrusive thoughts, which the main character Aza has severe issues with), I connected strongly with the story and Aza. I too suffered some loss and struggled with grief. I personally sought out help from Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and tried countless medications, all of which was so vivid in my mind when reading, and I remembered my old battles of the past quite well. I wanted to reach out and be the chorus to tell Aza that she would indeed survive this.
Aza was extremely blessed to have fierce love from her mom and her best friend Daisy, and while I appreciate the inner look at the battle against the illness, there are no names put on it, nor many distinct solutions pursued. The extreme societal stigma surrounding mental illness is also not discussed; is this a good or necessary thing? I couldn't decide. Maybe there wasn't a place for it here.
I loved the character Davis, and I loved the connections in this book. Overall, I'm happy I read this and loved the look at Aza's struggle and the bravery it takes to write about this topic, but the message is that there is hope, and that there is help. I have TOO much to say about this stuff so I'll shut up about it now!
PS. I'm glad no turtles were harmed in the writing of this novel.

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text 2018-01-12 15:39
TBR Friday
Tales of Ancient Egypt (Puffin Classics) - Heather Copley,Roger Lancelyn Green
The Birdwatcher - William Shaw
Two Boys Kissing - David Levithan
The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness
In the Land of Invented Languages: Esperanto Rock Stars, Klingon Poets, Loglan Lovers, and the Mad Dreamers Who Tried to Build a Perfect Language - Arika Okrent
Walls: Resisting the Third Reich: One Woman's Story - Hiltgunt Zassenhaus

How did I miss that yesterday was Thursday?  Oops!

 

I'm actually almost finished Tales of Ancient Egypt.  And I've also begun reading The Knife of Never Letting Go.  With any luck, I will finish the former this evening and be able to return it to the library tomorrow.

 

Next up, The Birdwatcher.  Because you know that I'm a bird watcher, plus who can resist a murder mystery investigated by a policeman with murder in his background.  I'm thinking this one will go quickly!

 

Then to Two Boys Kissing.  It's for my February book club meeting, which I will be missing.  I should feel bad, I guess, but I'll be bird watching in Taiwan, so not too bad.

 

Two non-fiction offerings as well, In the Land of Invented Languages (because I've always secretly wanted to speak Klingon) and Walls : resisting the Third Reich

 

I must have these finished before January 28th, when I fly to Taipei.  Fingers crossed!

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review 2018-01-09 15:49
A Worthy DC Superheroes Tale of the Silver Age Tribute
DC: The New Frontier - Darwyn Cooke

How did the Silver Age DC Heroes came to be? That has always been a question for me for a long time in my days of reading comic books until I read Darwyn Cooke's DC: The New Frontier. I have always been fascinated wanting to read this comic mini-series and waited until a collected edition was available and finally, since its released in 2004 and now its 2018, after 12 years I finally read it. Its a seamless transition from the Golden Age superheroes paving way to the Silver Age of superheroes of a new era. And it was all done by the late Darwyn Cooke's story masterpiece.

 

It is the 1950s where paranoia is a government business, where glamour and glittering lights is the new trendy and superheroes who fought for freedom during the World War II are outlawed by the government - a new enemy emerge from the depths of the unknown. There are still icon heroes fighting on, working with the government - Superman and Wonder Woman. But when bigotry and racism is on the high, are there any heroes left to believe the American Dream or is it all about control? With a new dangerous enemy approaches on a path of destruction, the world needs its superheroes more than ever to save mankind once more.

 

The love the opening of DC: The New Frontier and soon I knew I am going to read a classic of its own. The way the Silver Age superheroes are introduce is just at the right moment for comic fans or new readers to enjoy every moment of the artwork itself. It is so well-balance that not a single superhero was done unjustly of its attention. The battles, the panels and its colors draws riches of its tale and fulfill me with a reading I knew I won't regret much at all. This trade paperback not only includes the entire mini-series but also includes behind the scenes in more than 50 pages of artwork, sketches and designs plus a one-shot special Justice League: The New Frontier that is a companion to the animated movie. To me, this is at its best I have ever read since Kingdom Come. Although can't be compared, on its own it has the same level of epic reading that is decent and beautiful on its own. I highly recommend for any who love DC heroes to read this.

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review 2018-01-08 02:08
The Mayor's Wife
The Mayor's Wife - Anna Katharine Green

Anna Katherine Green was an American novelist at the turn of the 20th century and is considered by many to be the mother of the detective novel.  I first read a short story of hers last year, featuring Violet Strange, and immediately wanted to read more.  I couldn't find a collection of her Strange stories, but I did find a beautiful, first edition copy of this book for 15 bucks and I didn't think twice.  

 

It was worth every penny.  I only dinged it 1/2 star because there was a massive clue the protagonist 'forgot' she saw early in the book that I didn't forget reading about.  Of course this clue was the thing that the mystery's couple in peril needed to secure their HEA (although it didn't matter to the mystery itself). 

 

Miss Saunders is working for an employment agency of some sort - it's never explained, although it's obviously not your average job placement firm - when she is hired by the Mayor to be a companion to his wife, with the secondary task of discovering what event happened two weeks previously that substantially altered the Mayor's wife's personality.

 

Not only is the book very well written, but it has a little bit of everything fun and suspenseful in a vintage mystery: tales of hauntings, cryptic codes, unexplainable occurrences, dodgy butlers, and crazy old ladies staring out of attic windows.  The pacing is quick and even; I had a really hard time putting it down last night and it was the first thing I picked up this morning (thank goodness for school holidays!).   I did not see the ending coming, although it wasn't altogether shocking.  

 

I'll definitely be looking out for more of Green's work!

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