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review 2017-05-14 01:25
Infected: Bloodlines (Infected #2)
Infected: Bloodlines - Andrea Speed

If you read the first book, none of this should be a spoiler, but if you haven't, then proceed with caution.

 

Let me get my one gripe out of the way first. Paris is pretty. Like, really super duper fantabuloso everyone-with-eyes-wants-to-bang-him sexy hot. I know this because the author reminds the reader of this repeatedly. If I cut and paste all those passages together, it would probably take up five pages minimum. I vaguely remember being annoyed by this in the first book, but in this book, we're told that Paris's tiger virus has reached critical, that he's lost 50 pounds and is only 150-something, pale, always cold - he's sick, chronically so. So I don't need to hear about how super duper mega hot sex-on-legs he is every other page. One, I actually remember that from the previous book. Two, he's SICK! And at over six feet and only 150 pounds, he's not broad-chested. He's a toothpick. I just found the constant fascination with his sex appeal to be really shallow and misplaced in this book, and I could've done without it. Especially since the author could've gotten the same point across by showing and not telling...and telling...and telling...and telling...

 

Moving on to the actual story:

 

On the mystery front, I give this one three stars. The mystery wasn't really that involved here, and the revelation of the whodunit comes almost by accident. Almost. And since Roan's in an emotionally unstable place, that outcome isn't what you'd expect it to be - and that's all I'm saying about that. 

 

On the personal story front, I give this five stars. Read this with a box of tissues close at hand, because you're going to need it! In only two books, or two and a half if you read the novella "Infected: Paris" before this one, Ms. Speed created a beautiful couple in Roan and Paris. They're flawed, they're sometimes stupid, they're occasionally too sweet to bare, and they're real. And in this book, they're raw. They both know what's coming, and while Paris is preparing for the inevitable, Roan's living as close to denial as he can get for as long as he can, because to face reality would be the end for him as well. The supporting cast is all back. Dee is a saint of an ex-boyfriend, and Kevin's still a mess. Matt's much more prominent here. We don't see as much of the coppers, but when we do we get to see their concern and support. 

 

There are a couple of things that are brought up and then dropped, and some things are mentioned that happened between books that I would've liked to see on page. The editing is better than the first book but could still use work on making the "he's" and "his" more clear on who is being talked about. Still, the editing here is better than many. 

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review 2017-05-11 00:00
Letters to a Young Poet
Letters to a Young Poet - Rainer Maria Rilke,Reginald Snell,Franz Xaver Kappus This is the kind of book everyone should read every year.
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review 2017-05-09 02:38
Letters to the Damned
Letters To The Damned - Austin Crawley

Chris and his wife have separated, he is trying to comes to terms with living alone when she dies in a freak accident.  Chris decides to visit the English countryside that his wife enjoyed in order to grieve and move on.  His destination is motivated partly by the remoteness of a village that is barely on the map and a tabloid article he picked up about an out of service post box that supposedly sends messages to the dead.  Chris arrives in town and begins to have strange dreams, when he meets the villagers and begins to investigate the mailbox, he is warned off.  When a villagers mails a letter to a deceased relative and someone dies, he is intrigued.  And when Chris begins hallucinating, he decides to leave.  However, the pull of the mysterious box is too much for him to handle.  

The concept of a post box that could communicate with the dead really pulled me in.  The setting of an out of the way village with only adults as residents set a creepy tone and Chris as a curious but wary visitor rounded out the story.  Chris's character was very interesting; although he and his wife were separated, it is very clear that he was very much in love with her and his willingness to test out the mailbox proved that even more.  I enjoyed that he was of Mexican heritage, but  it was mentioned a little too often and didn't serve much purpose plotwise.   Chris was also interesting in that he tried to do the smart thing and just leave the post box behind.  This was a shorter book, and did well pace wise. However, I would have loved to expand a little more on some of the characters within the village and the lore behind the box.  For example, one of the villagers tells Chris that he is experiencing a Puca, but nothing more is explained.  Overall, a quick, creepy read with an atypical outcome for the horror genre. 

This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

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review 2017-05-03 11:00
The Unpopular Genius: Gustav Mahler by Alma Mahler-Werfel
Gustav Mahler: Memories and Letters - Alma Mahler-Werfel,Donald Mitchell,Knud Martner
Gustav Mahler (German Edition) - Alma Mahler-Werfel

As beautiful, highly educated and endowed for the arts as Alma Mahler-Werfel (1879-1964) was, she could have achieved a lot in the world, but during most of her life she remained in the shadows of her famous husbands and lovers. She had the bad luck to have been born at a time, when women only made their first tentative steps to claim their rights and their own place in society. Although her family and the circles that they frequented were among the most liberal of the fin de siècle, young and shy Alma quite naturally obeyed the command of her much older first husband Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) to give up for good all her own musical ambitions and activities. In 1939, when the Nazi regime defamed his work because he had been a Jew converted to Protestantism and refused him his place in the world of music, she brought out her very personal tribute to him under the title Gustav Mahler. Memories and Letters.

 

Alma Mahler-Werfel begins her largely admiring memories of her late husband with their first encounter at a dinner party in November 1901. Although frequenting the same circles, until then she had managed to avoid meeting the controversial conductor and composer Gustav Mahler against whom public opinion and malicious gossip had biased her. Moreover, Alma had been to a performance of his First Symphony and – like most music lovers of the time – she loathed it because even she as a student of composition couldn’t understand his modern approach. However, the middle-aged musician was immediately attracted to the young woman and quite naturally she was impressed by the man and flattered by his attentions. Passionate and used to getting what he wanted, Gustav Mahler didn’t take long to make Alma his bride and he expected of her no less than giving up her own life as well as identity. For her it was a great sacrifice to abandon her music studies and composing, but she was convinced that it was worth it. And she never lost this conviction although she acknowledges to have been too young as well as too inexperienced and romantic to have known better. On their wedding day in March 1902 – scarce four months after their first encounter – Alma was already with child, but her condition changed nothing. He and his needs were all that counted even after their daughter was born and then another daughter. She never once reproached him for his egotism and lack of regard for her because she felt that as a musical genius he stood so much above her. Besides, she was aware that he needed the stability of home and her support since he had to cope with opposition from all sides – for his Jewish descent, for his modernist understanding of music, and for his tempers and idiosyncrasies. At the cost of her own health, she stayed by his side on his travels until his untimely death in May 1911.

 

Every word of Alma Mahler-Werfel shows her unshakable awe of her ingenious husband and of his music although she didn’t go far beyond summarising the facts of their life together. I can’t help thinking that she left out quite a lot in order to paint as positive a picture of the man Gustav Mahler as she could. Maybe this was also due to her innate reserve and delicacy. It seems that she wasn’t actually a woman who wished to spread out her private life in public and in the foreword from 1939 she says herself that she hadn’t intended to publish her memories of Gustav Mahler or his letters to her during her lifetime. Seeing the Nazi regime talking ill of her late husband and denying his musical genius urged her to bring out the book in the dawn of World War Two. Although her portrait is necessarily biased and moreover incomplete, Gustav Mahler. Memories and Letters by Alma Mahler-Werfel is a partly forgotten read that definitely deserves my recommendation.

 

 

Gustav Mahler: Memories and Letters - Alma Mahler-Werfel,Donald Mitchell,Knud Martner  Gustav Mahler (German Edition) - Alma Mahler-Werfel  

 

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text 2017-04-29 20:54
Reading progress update: I've read 90 out of 346 pages.
Life and Letters of Charles Darwin - Volume 1: By Charles Darwin - Illustrated - Charles Darwin

The memoir by Darwin's son, Francis (editor of the book) is over; on to the letters of Charles.

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