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text 2017-12-28 16:40
Favorite and Least Favorite Books of 2017
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

Just going to recopy part of this from one of the 16 Festive Tasks posts. 

 

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.

 

 

The Airing of Grievances as performed by the Book Gods:

 

Book God 1: Look I just want to say, this is the price you readers pay to find that diamond in the rough. I don't feel bad for you. Who cares that you read a book where a young girl was slut shamed, where a plot made no sense, that you realized that every book now has the word "girl" in the title. 

 

Book God 2: Speak for yourself. Look, sometimes we can work miracles and you get "The Hate U Give" and other times you get "50 Shades of Grey." Tomato, tomahto. 

 

Book God 1: We told Obsidian Blue the rule was that she had to name 5 books that she actually finished that she disappointed her. No fair just throwing out DNFs. 

 

Book God 2: She maybe flipped us off. Okay, she totally did. 

 

Book 1

 

How to Change a Life

 

Book God 1: Oh yeah. I remember this one. There were two characters that were African American and Obsidian Blue felt as if the author had never met black people before in her life. And also thought it was kind of gross the main character was being portrayed as reasonable after it comes out that she is now sleeping with her friend's ex-husband. 

 

Book God 2: I would have kicked her ass. 

 

OB: What they said. Seriously though. I like/love most of Ballis's books. She incorporates very real characters for the most part and also includes recipes that have me craving all kinds of food while reading her books. I think that she had the opportunity to show how the best friends you have growing up are not the perfect fit when you are adults. I think she was heading that way for a bit, and then it turned into some weird/gross piling on of the character of Lynne for being work focused. I don't know if I can articulate this correctly, it just felt mean to me in a way. Did not enjoy and was very upset that I bought this one. 

 

Book 2

 

Zone One

 

 

Book God 1: Nah. 

 

Book God 2: Nope. 

 

OB: Forget you both! Seriously though. I don't understand how the man who wrote "The Underground Railroad" wrote this mess of a zombie novel. I kept comparing it to the "Girl With All the Gifts" and just did not enjoy it. I think the fact that Whitehead chose to tell this story in a non-linear way focusing on three specific days just didn't work. I liked the idea of the survivors of telling stories about their lives before the dead rose. I wish that Whitehead had worked more of that into his story. Other than that, this was just a lackluster read. 

 

Book 3

 

The Last of August (Charlotte Holmes #2)

 

Book God 1: Okay, this one actually made me mad too.

 

Book God 2: Dear authors, don't make a character's rape into some weird character motivation for one of your other characters and have them acting as if it somehow affects them more. Did we learn nothing from that story-line on Games of Throne when Sansa's rape is somehow affecting Theon Greyjoy more? 

 

OB: I found issues with book #1, but honestly book #2 just did not work for me on any level. I think the biggest issue that I have said before when it comes to YA books is that when the publisher's think they have a hit on their hands seem to spur the author to put out sequels before they are ready. Or even put out more books than were planned.

 

"The Last of August" moved the setting to Germany and Cavallaro didn't even play that up at all in the book. 


The main characters of Charlotte and Jamie are just toxic together. I am not rooting for them to get together. Jamie in turns desires and hates Charlotte. She doesn't do what he wants her to and gets weirdly competitive with her about who will solve the case they are on now. It doesn't help matters that Charlotte is not as great as deductions as her so-called relative Sherlock is. 


The other characters are poorly developed and Charlotte's brother makes a fatal mistake that I can't even believe he would have made, but you know let's throw some drama in there. 

 

As the book gods have already said, we know that prior to the events in book #1, Charlotte was raped. I hope you enjoy Jamie making it all about him the entire time. Cause that didn't get annoying at all. 

 

Book 4

 

Echoes in Death (In Death, #44)

 

Book God 1: I don't know why she keeps reading this series.

 

Book God 2: At least she no longer buys the books and just borrows them via the library.


Book God 1: Still though, none of the characters are progressing that well based on the last few books. Peabody is a callous moron in this one. And we have the final act where Eve deduces a crime and is all surprise about it in the end to those she gathers. Who is she, Hercule Poirot?  

 

Book God 2: I also kind of hate that it's been like what, 10 books in a row and only three months have passed. Something like that. Get your timeline together Robb. 

 

OB: I should probably just quit this series. But this series has some of my favorite books which is why I keep persisting with it. I think at this point Robb should consider how to wrap things up with Eve Dallas and friends since all of the books have started to read a bit samey. It didn't help that Peabody was abducted by aliens and replaced with a person with no soul. Who stands around a dead body gushing about someone's shoes?

 

The other characters don't have much to do anymore besides sit around and tell Dallas how she is right in all things (see Dr. Mira). 

The writing got very repetitive and there were no surprises in this one at all. You can guess the guilty party earlier on since Robb doesn't provide any other viable suspects. 

 

Book 5

 

Well this was a hard one, but I finally went with this on. 

 

Maybe Someday (Maybe, #1)

 

Book God 1: Man, even I was disappointed with this one.

 

Book God 2: Why are New Adult romance books mostly about cheating/almost cheating and/or slut shaming? 

 

Book God 1: I don't know. It's weird. I also don't get how anyone reads a romance and is all yes main couple, cheat. Please cheat.

 

OB: UGHHHH. This one was so frustrating. I read one of Hoover's books last year, "It Ends With Us" and was so moved by it. I freaking even wrote it in for one of the Goodreads 2016 awards. And to go back and read this I just wonder if the same author wrote both books. 

 

"Maybe Someday" has a very thin plot contrivance to get two strangers (Sydney and Ridge) living together with two other people. Yes, cause Sydney has listened to Ridge play his guitar from his patio they somehow have a connection. Whatever.

 

Things get worse when Sydney and Ridge proceed to get all jealous about any one of the opposite sex paying the other attention. Did I mention that Ridge has a great girlfriend and it makes no sense at all why he is so drawn to Sydney?

 

I can't even discuss the terrible ending where Ridge's girlfriend rightfully dumps his ass and then he runs back to Sydney and she is all true love. 

 

Honorable mentions: "All the Missing Girls" "In the Water", "The Best of Adam Sharp", "The Girl Before", "I Am Watching You", and "The Sleepwalker". 

 

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review 2017-12-16 00:00
Still Not Over You (Man from Yesterday Book 5)
Still Not Over You (Man from Yesterday Book 5) - Barbara Lohr Still Not Over You should be Ms. Lohr's calling card. Phoebe and Ryder's tale is one of love, lost and found. Like only she can, Barbara Lohr sets about seducing readers with a romance destined to speak to the hidden romantic in every dreamer. Ryder and Phoebe's journey is practically written in the stars. From young love to broken hearts and new beginnings, these soulmates navigate some tricky twists and emotional turns, but as always love finds a way. If everything happens for a reason, Ms. Lohr was the perfect person to explain to us why and how love can conquer all.
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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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