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review 2018-04-23 14:39
A Piece of the World
A Piece of the World: A Novel - Christina Baker Kline
I waited till I finished reading this novel to view the portrait, Christina’s World, which surrounded this novel. I had my own version of what this painting entailed as I read the novel but as I viewed the actual image, the landscape felt more void and lonely than I had anticipated. Christina’s image was ideal as she laid out on the harsh grass and the homestead’s deteriorating condition completed the print.
 
I felt for Christina throughout the novel as she stumbled to keep up. She kept her struggles inside as her determined and steadfast attitude pushed her through each day. Christina felt unattractive and when you added on her leg condition that brought on her clumsiness and her constant stumbling, Christina had a negative view of herself. She was smart, her teacher had told her so, but living on the homestead she didn’t feel it. Her legs cause her constant pain yet when her parents try to get her medical help, she refused it. It’s rough out on the homestead without any modern conveniences yet Christina doesn’t complain, she does what is expected of her. When all her friends start dating, getting married and having children, Christina imagines such a time but somehow, she knows her life is on her family’s estate. I was sad to see Christina, day-in and day-out laboring away for her family and only taking time for herself if there was any, at the end of the day.
 
Andy Wyeth comes to Christina’s homestead as he wants to use the surrounding area in his paintings. Andy becomes a constant figure in the household, using the upstairs bedroom for his studio. I enjoyed the relationship that Andy and Christina develop through the years. They discover how the two of them are alike and their conversations become personal and relaxed. Andy gets married and Christina finds a man who fills her heart. She wonders how Walton will fit into her world as their worlds are so different. Is this her opportunity to leave the estate and start her own life?
 
I found myself absorbed into Christina's life. I wanted so much for her. When her teacher extended an opportunity to her, I was hoping that this would be where she would succeed and she would be off. I would only hope. I loved Christina’s relationships in this novel. They weren’t tight but she had a nice variety where I learned a bit more about her from different individuals. I really enjoyed the author’s writing, there was this, “this is how it is” feeling about it and I brought my own emotions to the table as I read. I really enjoyed how the painting was used in this novel and I am glad I didn’t look at it until I finished reading the novel. I think my parents had a copy of this painting when I was growing up, hanging in the hallway. You can read the interpretation of this painting, invent your own, or read this novel and apply it to this painting, it’s up to you. Super novel to read.
 
I won a copy of this novel from a Goodreads Giveaway. Thank you, William Morrow, - Harper Collins Publishers for this novel!

 

 

 

 

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review 2018-04-09 01:56
Borderline by Mishell Baker - My Thoughts
Borderline - Mishell Baker

I picked up this book after reading this review by KJ Charles (one of my fave authors).  I don't read everything that KJ recs, because some of it isn't my cup of tea, but many of the books she recommends I eventually pick up and try out.  I've not been disappointed yet!

So I found this book, the first in the The Arcadia Project series, fascinating for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, the main character who narrates the story, Millie, is one of the most intriguing main characters I've read in a long while.  I can't say it better than KJ does in her review (so if you didn't read it, go and click the link and READ IT!).  What I can say, is that I grew to really LIKE her by the end of the book and can't wait to see what she gets up to in the next book. 

Secondly, I liked the way the two worlds/realities were treated.  Sure, we didn't see anything of the fairy realm itself, just some of the creatures and beings that inhabit it and cross over into our world. I have to hope that we see more of it and learn more of it in the next book.

So, even though I'm not a huge fan of urban fantasy/paranormal, I really did enjoy this one and will be adding the second novel to my list.

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review 2018-04-07 21:39
Review: Impostor Syndrome
Impostor Syndrome (The Arcadia Project) ... Impostor Syndrome (The Arcadia Project) - Mishell Baker

Book 3 of the Arcadia Project trilogy. I wasn't actually sure how many books would be in this series, but this reaches the kind of conclusion where, even if more books were added to the series, I'd still call the first three a trilogy. 

 

This book has the same excellent pacing and unreliable narrator as the previous two, but adds more locations to the mix. Both other parts of Earth and extended periods in Arcadia. There are also some new great characters and some excellent returning characters. And Caryl cannot handle any of it. Jesus, Caryl, what the fuck.

 

One of the things I love about this book is that I can't explain the story to you. In spite of the fast pace of the whole series, Baker has managed to integrate a ton of world building, and the plot in this one is constructed so deftly from those constructs that a summary would be unintelligible without having read the first two. There are heists? And high jinks? 

 

Another of the things that I love about this series is that it's heavily character driven. Even if watching the pieces of the plot come together weren't superb, I'd still be all over this series for the narrator. I'd read her narrate fucking up an Uber ride to the airport. 

 

The only thing I didn't love about this book was the interior vision quest sequence, but if Life Is Strange couldn't sell me on that concept, I doubt anyone else can.

 

A solid conclusion to a fun and interesting series. I'll be interested to see what Baker writes next.

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text 2018-04-01 10:27
March marches out...
The Case of the Baker Street Irregulars - Anthony Boucher
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life - Ed Yong
Burn Bright - Patricia Briggs
One Corpse Too Many - Ellis Peters
The Uncommon Reader - Alan Bennett
Miss Silver Comes to Stay - Patricia Wentworth
Miss Kopp's Midnight Confessions - Amy Stewart
The Moving Toyshop - Edmund Crispin
The House of the Cats: And Other Traditional Tales from Europe - Maggie Pearson

Either I was feeling generous, or I had a great reading month.  Since my RL wasn't as nice as my reading month, we'll go with great reading!

 

My total for March was 26 books.  Moonlight Reader's inspired reading version of the game Clue! (Cluedo to those in the Commonwealth), Kill Your Darlings, certainly helped keep my reading pace up, and as always, worked particularly well at getting the veterans off my TBR stacks.  

 

Of the 25 books, 2 were 5-star reads:

The Case of the Baker Street Irregulars by Anthony Boucher 

I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life by Ed Yong 

 

I had 8 4.5 star reads too:

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee 

Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs 

One Corpse Too Many by Ellis Peters 

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett 

Miss Silver Comes to Stay by Patricia Wentworth 

Miss Kopp's Midnight Confessions by Amy Stewart 

The Moving Toyshop by Edmund Crispin 

The House of the Cats: And Other Traditional Tales from Europe by Maggie Pearson 

 

 

 

Some stats, gussied up:

 

My TBR project:

I've set a book buying budget for each month that = 50% of the total books I read the previous month.  Any books not bought carry over to the next month.  

 

Last month I bought 11 out of the 15 budgeted, leaving me with 4 to carry over to April.  My total books read in March being 25 leaves me with a budget of 12 (I always round down; I figure this way, if I go over one month, there's a small error of margin). 

 

total books I can buy in April:  16

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text 2018-03-22 14:11
TBR Thursday
The Shoe on the Roof - Will Ferguson
Vlad: The Last Confession - C.C. Humphreys
The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter - Margareta Magnusson
Still Life - Louise Penny
Now I Rise (The Conqueror's Trilogy) - Kiersten White
The House at Baker Street (A Mrs Hudson and Mary Watson Investigation) - Michelle Birkby

In the docket for the next week and a bit....

 

For my 2018 PopSugar challenge, The Shoe on the Roof by Will Ferguson will be my book about mental health.

 

Still Life by Louise Penny will be the P entry for my Women Authors A-Z list.  Now I Rise by Kiersten White will likewise be my W entry.

 

And then, just for fun, Vlad : the Last Confession by C.C. Humphreys.  I met Humphreys as last year's When Words Collide conference here in Calgary.  As a result, I recommended that my public library buy his latest book, the above.  Now it is my duty to read it.  :)

 

The House at Baker Street just seemed like too much fun to pass up and I've been patiently waiting for it for some time.  The same with The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, which I hope will kick-start my spring cleaning (if spring ever deigns to show its face here).

 

Have a lovely weekend, friends and happy reading!

 

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