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text 2017-11-06 18:04
16 Tasks of the Festive Season - Task 10 - World Peace Day & Pancha Ganapati
The Tokyo Zodiac Murders - Ross MacKenzie,Soji Shimada,Shika MacKenzie
Y is for Yesterday (A Kinsey Millhone Novel) - Sue Grafton
In the Woods - Tana French
The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas
A Crown of Wishes - Roshani Chokshi

Doing two tasks in this combined post!

 

World Peace Day-

 

If I had wings like a dove I would love to fly to Montreal or Toronto. I really want to explore Canada more and since it's so close (I live in the D.C. area) I think I would be able to go for a week or longer and just explore. I think that either in spring 2018 or maybe summer I am going to aim to take a trip up north and go exploring. If I don't go to those cities, I did hear about cool things that I can do though that I would love. When I was in Ecuador two Canadian tourists were on the trip with our excursion and they enthused about so many things and showed me videos. 

 

Image result for canada montreal

 

Montreal

 

I know that I want to tour Niagara Falls, but I have heard about walking tours of Old Montreal and I could do a private tour of Prince Edward Island (home of the fictional Anne of Green Gables). 

 

Tasks for World Peace Day: Cook something involving olives or olive oil. Share the results and/or recipe with us. –OR–

Tell us: If you had wings (like a dove), where would you want to fly?

 

Pancha Ganapati:

 

My 5 favorite books of this year was hard to narrow down. I decided to pick the top five that I have already read more than once this year and of course that I read/reviewed for the first time this year. I just included excerpts from my full reviews so you can see why they are my favorite books for this year. 

 

The Tokyo Zodiac Murders-Wow all I have to say is that this book was great. More than anything I love clever books like this, and this was definitely very clever. I honestly was a bit worried for a couple of minutes that maybe I wouldn't be able to get the book since the setting is in Japan. But wow the author Soji Shimada is able to pretty much show you that murder is murder no matter where it takes place.

 

 

Y is for Yesterday- I have to say that I love the fact that even though this book takes place in 1989 there's definitely some similarities to what's going on in the world today in this book. There's the question of rape, there's the question of getting consent, there's the question of violence against women and what do women do in order to fight back against that. I feel like all of those are discussion topics that are very relevant in today's world. 

 

I've really hated how isolated Kinsey felt to me in the past few books was just her interacting with Henry and Rosie. But this one definitely showcases how many people are connected to Kinsey, and how many people just love her.

I was really glad to finally see it seem to laying to rest her whole relationship with the missing Robert Dietz. And I think I see a game plan coming with regards to Cheney Phillips. It was good to read what was going on with him and finally having me not wanting to kick the crap out of him based on what I thought was going on with this character.

 

 

In the Woods- What a compelling read. I finished this thing in about a day and a half. I will say that at first I found myself somewhat bored. But this book ends up being a nice slow burn of a read. I wanted even more by the time I got to the end. I already put a hold on the second book in the series. I have to say that I am really glad that French didn't try to solve the overarching mystery for the main character, Rob Ryan. I know that some readers ended up loving this character and I had to say that in the end, I didn't feel love, but just outright pity for him.

 

 

The Hate U Give-I got so many feels while reading this book.

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Thomas takes a look at a teenage black girl who is trying her best to be Starr back home in Garden Heights and Starr at her suburban prep school.

 

Thomas doesn't just make this a YA book, she makes this a YA book accurately showing the struggle for black Americans, for black men, black women, interracial relationships, the pain that we feel when we move away into what is considered "good areas", etc.

Thomas is able to show you so many layers to Starr and the other characters in this book that is becomes mesmerizing to read. Even with the subject matter, I loved that Thomas was able to inject humor and show how for many black Americans that tragedy does not define us, that you still keep going as much as you can, as long as you can. Heck, Thomas even shows you how much simmering anger is under the skin for many black Americans in the U.S. right now, and how those that people screech about as "thugs" and "monsters" can finally just have enough and yes start rioting.

 

 

A Crown of Wishes-  I needed a fantastic book and I savored this one for two days though I wanted to swallow it whole at times. It lingered with me in my sleep and I smiled when I woke up because I was so happy to just keep reading this book. Chokshi includes Indian myths and also just really great characters that you want to keep reading about. We also get appearances from characters from the last book that I was sad to see go when we finished. I often worry when authors start writing a YA book and write a sequel or decide it will be a trilogy. That's only because not many have held up. This one holds up. I highly recommend.

 

Tasks for Pancha Ganapati: Post about your 5 favourite books this year and why you appreciated them so much. –OR–

Take a shelfie / stack picture of the above-mentioned 5 favorite books.  (Feel free to combine these tasks into 1!

 

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review 2017-11-03 01:11
Kinsey takes on a cold case, a warm one and one that's too hot
Y is for Yesterday (A Kinsey Millhone Novel) - Sue Grafton

...all I had to do was return the retainer and that would have been the end of it.

 

But I was already hooked. The little terrier in my nature was busy chasing after the problem, throwing dirt up behind me as I dug my little hole. There was a rat down there somewhere and I would have it for my very own.

 

It's this attitude that won me to Kinsey's side, and has kept me reading her.

 

Fritz McCabe has just been released from prison -- ten years after being given the maximum sentence for being part of a murder as a high school student. Now his parents are being blackmailed with the threatened release of a videotape (seeming?) to show him (and the others involved in the murder) participating in a sexual assault on a drunk/high younger girls. If this tape leaks, he will be put back in prison, doing adult time. The legal bills will destroy his family, and they know that the blackmailer's demands will eventually do the same. Kinsey's hired by the parents to put an end to the blackmail. She is, rightly, horrified by the events on the tape, but wants to help the parents.

 

While she investigates what happened to the tape for the decade-plus since the murder (and the brief time between the making of the tape and the murder), Kinsey investigates the events surrounding the creation of the tape (how consensual was it?, was it just a joke by all involved?) -- and keeps brushing up against the murder. What actually happened? We get flashbacks to the day of the murder (and the lead up to it), so that we see a lot more than Kinsey will get exposed to through memories, dishonest witnesses, and news stories. It's pretty obvious to the reader what actually happened in 1979, and what's probably going on in 1989, early on -- we don't get the full picture until Kinsey does, but then it's just confirmation. The final reveal on this was nevertheless very satisfactory -- possibly the best part of the book.

 

Meanwhile, the serial killer from X is still lurking around, trying to find some of the evidence he left behind -- and is harassing Kinsey while at it. This is by far the most interesting of the stories, but it can't seem to keep Kinsey's attention the way it should. She even notes that herself -- clearly it's something she doesn't want to think about, and who can blame her? But how do you not think about it? The ending to this story wasn't as satisfying to me, but it worked, and wasn't (exactly) what you'd expect.

 

The flashbacks didn't work as well for me as they have in previous novels, I'm not sure that I can put my finger on why, but Grafton didn't pull it off as well. It could be related to the fact that everyone in this story was thoroughly unpleasant -- the only person you could kind of like was the girl you knew was going to die. Actually, I liked her a lot -- even though in the opening chapter I knew she was going to be dead for a decade by the time Kinsey gets involved. One other member of the group who served time related to the murder has made the best of his life that he can following his release from prison -- he's really turned his life around, and I could admire him (in 1989).

 

Once things heat up on the serial killer side of things, I really liked everyone involved -- it was a collection of great characters. As I write this, I realize just how much I wish the book focused on this story (I honestly didn't realize that until now). It is really hard to talk about, however, beyond what I've said already, so I'll just leave it at that.

 

There's a few things going on in her personal life -- with Henry, her cousin, Jonah, etc. I'm not going to bother with it, typical judgmental, cantankerous Kinsey -- and that's about it. I don't think I've ever got too concerned about historical accuracies in these books before, but there were a couple of things that people said that just didn't seem like 1989 to me, maybe mid-90s. But it didn't distract me too much or take me out of the story for too long (which is the make or break thing for me when it comes to this kind of thing).

 

It wasn't bad, but it sure wasn't good -- Y is for Yesterday will scratch the itch that long-term Kinsey fans have, but won't do much for newer readers.

 

2017 Library Love Challenge

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2017/11/02/y-is-for-yesterday-by-sue-grafton
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review 2017-11-02 13:49
V.C. Andrews - the Dollanganger Series
Flowers in the Attic - V.C. Andrews
Petals on the Wind - V.C. Andrews
If There Be Thorns - V.C. Andrews
Seeds of Yesterday (Dollanganger Series) - V.C. Andrews
Garden of Shadows (Dollanganger Series) - V.C. Andrews

Sadly, this wasn't the first VCA book I ever read (I started off with the Cutler family series) but when I finally got around to Flowers in the Attic, I was not disappointed. It is easily one of the best books I have ever read. The drama, the intrigue, the suspense... I have read this book several times and never get tired of it.

You can't help but feel bad for the poor kids, especially with their harsh treatment by their grandmother and the blatant selfishness of their mother. One might wonder why the events in this book have transpired as they have, but this book is simply the first in a fascinating five-book series, and the rest of the series explains why this book was the way it was, especially the fifth, which serves as a prequel. The entire saga is riveting!

 

After reading Flowers in the Attic, I was happy to continue the story with Petals on the Wind. If I were Cathy, I'd be supremely pissed off at my own mother, and want to plot revenge. It was sad in some parts, but a satisfying read overall.

The trio that managed to escape the Foxworth mansion after the death of their brother are forever scarred by their traumatic experience, especially Carrie, who constantly struggles with the physical and mental scars that are left on her. Despite being adopted by a man who treats them well, the children can't quite get over what happened, though Chris is more quick to move on and start a productive life in medicine. Cathy desires revenge - perfectly justified - but makes some stupid decisions along the way. However, her thirst for revenge comes to fruiton as she lashes against the evil grandmother and her mother.

All in all, this is a worthy continuation of Flowers in the Attic, with things coming full circle, so to speak (at least in some aspects, since this series still has 3 more books to go)

 

If There Be Thorns doesn't have the same feel as FitA or PotW, but is still a wonderful book. People wonder why Malcolm was the way he was, and Bart's reading of his journal helps to shed some light in why the Foxworth bloodline became so twisted and why Malcolm treated/saw women the way he did. The storyline focuses on Jory and Bart, and how they come to know the old lady next door - and her dark secret, and how Malcolm's madness continued to live on. A definite must-read for any VCA fan.

 

Seeds of Yesterday doesn't have so much to do with the first three Dollanganger books, as it's now 1997 (over a decade set after the actual date VCA published this, in the mid-80's) but still stands as a decent story in its own right, with the surprising reappearance of a character long thought dead. And religion comes back with this character, reminding Chris and Cathy all too well why they didn't want anything to do with religion. As a part of a series, Seeds of Yesterday doesn't contribute overmuch to the Foxworth saga, which is sad, because it'd have been nice to learn more about the Foxworths.

Just one plothole - in SoY, it's 1997, but in the next book 'Garden of Shadows' (prequel to Flowers in the Attic), Olivia Foxworth's will included a letter to be opened 20 years after her death (which was the story of GoS) and her death was in 1972, so Chris and Cathy should have read GoS by now, five years before SOY, and already be aware of what happened between Malcolm and Olivia.
 
After reading the rest of the Dollanganger series, I was naturally eager to start Garden of Shadows. It is stunning how a woman that you end up feeling sorry for turns into such a horrible person in FitA. Yes, Olivia went through a bad transformation, but here you see who the REAL villain is.

Tempting hints of Malcolm and Olivia's turbulent relationship with one another and their children and grandchildren were hinted at in previous books, but here, from Olivia's own viewpoint, we see why she has suffered. Mind you, this doesn't absolve her of the bad things she did, but you can see how she became the kind of person she did, and what led Chris and Corrine to run away from home. It is sad that V.C. Andrews died before she could complete this book, as the ghostwriter wrote much of this, and one can not help but wonder how the book would have been had VCA been able to complete it.
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review 2017-09-04 19:22
Yesterday
Yesterday - Felicia Yap

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.]

I’m not sure I can really call this ‘science fiction’—‘alternate history/contemporary world’, rather?— and for once I find ‘speculative fiction’ is actually more appropriate. ‘Yesterday’ is set in a 2015 world where people, due to a gene getting inhibited when they become adults, lose their short term memories. ‘Monos’ can only retain the previous days, while ‘Duos’ can retain two days... but nothing more. In order to function, people therefore have to keep writing in their diaries, and make a conscious effort to learn the important ‘facts’ that happened to them.

I found this premise quite interesting, especially when it came to setting a mystery in that world: how would an investigator go about their job, link clues together, if they can only rely on written facts and not on actual memories? Because they’re bound to forget to write some details that would then become important, only at the time they looked so trivial they didn’t think them so. This is DI Richardson’s conundrum, as the main investigator in Sophia Ayling’s suicide-or-murder case, since he knows he has to solve this very quickly, otherwise he may miss some important clues. Just like potential suspects will literally forget what a crafty interrogation session could have made them say. All of this, of course, while keeping in mind an important question: are diaries reliable?

The story revolves around four characters’ narratives and diaries: Claire Evans, a Mono ex-waitress who married a successful Duo writer, but struggles daily with her feelings of inadequacy compared to her husband’s ability to remember more; Mark Evans, whose career as a writer isn’t so satisfying anymore, just like his marriage, and who’s tempted to veer towards politics... and mistresses; Sophia Ayling, a woman with the rare ability to remember everything... including tiny little slights that built up into hatred and a deep desire for revenge; and Hans Richardson, the inspector determined to crack the case in one day, but who also harbours secrets of his own.

In itself, it was a fast-paced enough read (everything happens over 24 hours, after all), and one that kept my attention; the plot twists were easy enough for me to guess, yet at the same time I still wanted to see how the characters themselves, with their limited day to day memories, would go about making sense of everything that happened to them.

In the end, though, the memory limit proved to ask more questions than it provided answers, making the world building kind of... shaky? The society depicted here seems to have been built on the short term memory problem as if it had been here from the start. But while I can see how modern technology (paper diaries, then iDiaries—hello, parallel world Apple that I thought interesting in spite of being a little too obvious) would allow people to function, it makes one wonder how science and said technology developed in the first place: at some point, how was writing invented, if people couldn’t remember what they did two days ago, and couldn’t put it in written words? For me, it would’ve been more credible if the genetic shift had happened later in history—well, maybe it did, but the story doesn’t tell.

The ending, too, left me sceptical. I see what the author did there, but it felt too convoluted and resting on chance events (or perhaps, should I say, on a stroke of genius on one character’s part, but what led to it seemed too much like a convenient plot device?). Also, I would’ve expected the inspector character to make less blunders—either that, or other characters bearing on him for making them, because in the end there were no real consequences.

Conclusion: 2.5 stars. It is an entertaining first novel, I just wished the memory loss premise had been exploited better.

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review 2017-08-23 01:44
Y is for Perfection
Y is for Yesterday (A Kinsey Millhone Novel) - Sue Grafton

Please note that there are spoilers for all previous events from prior books. Do not read if you have not read up to X by Sue Grafton. 

 

You may recall my review for X and how frustrated I was with that book. I thought that the majority of that book was just filler. Kinsey felt off and Henry drove me nuts. It also seemed to have two stories smashed into one and neither of them worked. But with "Y is for Yesterday" Sue Grafton hits everything on such a pitch perfect level I have no qualms about saying this book is a five star read.

 

This book is going to be the end of 1989 for the Kinsey Millhone series. Z is for whatever it's going to stand for is I hope going to take place in 1990, but we'll have to see what tricks Sue Grafton has for us long time readers. 

 

"Y is for Yesterday" has Kinsey taking a case that actually starts back in 1979. Kinsey is asked to find out who may be blackmailing a man just released from juvenile detention. Ten years ago, the man (Fritz) and his friends taped a gang rape. Though he was found guilty of murder as a juvenile, his family is afraid this tape may lead to him being incarcerated again. 

 

I have to say that I love the fact that even though this book takes place in 1989 there's definitely some similarities to what's going on in the world today in this book. There's the question of rape, there's the question of getting consent, there's the question of violence against women and what do women do in order to fight back against that. I feel like all of those are discussion topics that are very relevant in today's world.

 

We have an older and finally wiser Kinsey. After a run in that almost left her dead, Kinsey decides to start taking some self defense classes, you as well as doing more security measures. She's had to change her routine, but she's doing what she can to stay safe while hoping to track down a serial killer. Her newest case gives her something to sink her teeth into which is leading Kinsey down a path that many would like her to leave alone. My favorite Kinsey is her fighting for the truth no matter what.

 

We have the usual suspects in this one. We have Henry, Rosie, William (in small doses thank God) Cheney Phillips, Kinsey's cousin Anna, and Jonah. We even have references to a lot of characters we haven't read or even interacted with in years. Heck we have Kinsey on the phone and hanging out with Vera.

 

I've really hated how isolated Kinsey felt to me in the past few books was just her interacting with Henry and Rosie. But this one definitely showcases how many people are connected to Kinsey, and how many people just love her.

 

I was really glad to finally see it seem to laying to rest her whole relationship with the missing Robert Dietz. And I think I see a game plan coming with regards to Cheney Phillips. It was good to read what was going on with him and finally having me not wanting to kick the crap out of him based on what I thought was going on with this character.

 

I do have to say though that the gullibility of Henry is starting to just work my nerves. But in this volume it ends up wrapping things up perfectly though with regards to another plot so I can't complain.

 

I honestly could not stand Kinsey's  cousin Anna. I felt like she shoved her way into Kinsey's life and was trying to take over. But in this one we get some revelations about this character and I still don't understand how Kinsey didn't punch her in her face. But it definitely changes things for the good with the series so I'm kind of curious about where Grafton's going to go with this character next.

 

The writing was great and I cheered several times. Thank goodness Grafton makes a quick mention of the drought California is experiencing and moves on. No talk of water conservation.

 

"They were also committed to the notion of equality between the sexes, which spawned an unspoken competition to see who could force the other to knuckle under and pick up the slack."

 

"The odd but unremarkable truth about women is we’ve had the aggression bred right out of us."

 

“You’re denigrating my experience. Minimizing the impact. Guys are famous for putting women down. Why don’t you get over it? Why can’t you let it go?” she said mockingly. “What you really mean is, ‘Why make me eat shit for something that happened to you?’”

 

“I want to make sure you’re awake for this because I have one final word of advice. You don’t never want to mess with women, son. They will take you down.”

 

I thought that the flow in this book was really good. The books shifts perspective between Kinsey and her investigation and the events going on in her life, and then transitioning back to 1979 and focusing on different people who were involved in the events that led up to the murder of a young girl. You eventually can put two and two together and realize what happened with some of the key players but the final revelation I thought was great.

 

I always love visiting Santa Teresa and now in the 25th book this feels like such a real place to me with this town and this place that Kinsey calls home that I just would love to read about it for 25 more books.

 

I do have to say though I kind of wonder what is the end plan for Kinsey. At this point she has a ridiculous amount of money so she's just working and still living with Henry because she chooses to. She can move on anytime.  She's now 39 years old so one wonders if she wishing for something new. The epilogue of the book ends in 1990, and now I wonder what's going to happen to Kinsey in this new era. The 1990s was what, the beginning of the AIDS crisis in America, more women in the workplace fighting for equality, we had a lot of scandals going on in America and worldwide, and we are going to start to see the rise of the computer age.

 

So I wonder if whenever we do get to the final volume with Z, where is that going to leave Kinsey. I hope it ends on a good note, I feel kind of scared like many readers did when JK Rowling was finishing with the Harry Potter series and people were begging her to please not kill Harry. So I'm just going to put that out there, please Sue's Grafton don't kill off Kinsey, I want her to have a happy ending.

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