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review 2018-12-13 20:51
[REVIEW] Bluets by Maggie Nelson
Bluets - Maggie Nelson
"I knew it all along. The heart of the world is blue."
(p. 90)


This wasn't what I expected.

I’m feeling a bit like a prude but this was unexpectedly vulgar for me? I came in thinking it would be about the color blue, grief, lovesickness, love, loss, etc. Those elements are present but so is a lot of mention of dick and pussy and sex and I was completely surprised. I wanted something soft and melancholic and that is definitely not what I found. The melancholy was there but it was being chased by madness.

Another thing that surprised me was the philosophical elements present. Lots of Plato and other philosophers are mentioned.

I did enjoy her prose, her descriptions, and feelings about color.

 

 

Reading progress notes

 

61% - 136. "Drinking when you are depressed is like throwing kerosene on a fire,” I read in another self-help book at the bookstore. What depression ever felt like a fire? I think, shoving the book back on the shelf.

Accurate.
 
75% - Not loving that she used the "r" word.
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review 2018-12-04 00:34
Needled to Death
Needled to Death - Maggie Sefton

I read this book several years ago and is the 2nd book in the series. Kelly is working from home in Colorado while she continues to work out how to pay off the mortgage on her aunt's house, the ranch she inherited and figuring out how she can stay in Ft. Collins with her new found friends. When she and Jennifer take a visiting group of yarn artists to Vicki's home in the canyon, when they get there, they find her dead. This starts Kelly's involvement with the family and the finances that were part of the life of Vicki. 

 

The story is fun to read and listen to. My kids enjoyed listening to it as well. 

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-11-30 06:19
November 2018 — A Wrap-Up

 

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Cinder by Marissa Meyer

 

Even though I read this book in October, I forgot to include it in that month’s wrap-up. So, reviewing it now. Cinder is the story of Cinderella but one who is half cyborg and works as a mechanic. All the elements you’d expect from such a story are there, i.e., an evil stepmom, a dead dad, and a prince who is smitten with the poor girl.

 

But the same goes for the issues that the original (read Disney) version and most YAs have. For instance, the forging of an instant connection between the prince and Cindy. She is considered expendable and is extremely poor at the beginning of the story. Yet soon she not only attracts royalty, but her blood also becomes the only source that can cure the virus plaguing the country. We also come across completely irredeemable and good-spirited characters, meaning everything is black and white.

 

All that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy this modern twist on an old story because I did, which is why I will be reading the next one.

 

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Johannes Cabal the Necromancer by Jonathan L. Howard

 

The story opens on a man, Johanne Cabal, the Necromancer, striding into hell and demanding to see Satan. Having sold his soul for necromancy, he now wants it back. The reason for that becomes clear only at the end of the book and that too only partially. Satan sets him to achieve a seemingly insurmountable task in return for Cabal’s soul.

As Johannes recruits, recreates, and alienates people during the journey, we meet many quirky characters. The best thing about the book is undoubtedly its sense of humor.

 

Take a look:

“I was cast down from the presence of God himself into this dark, sulphurous pit and condemned to spend eternity here—”

“Have you tried saying sorry?” interrupted Cabal.

“No, I haven’t! I was sent down for a sin of pride. It rather undermines my position if I say ‘sorry’!”

The quote above is an excerpt from the exchange between Cabal and the Devil. The one below is about a crow (one of Satan’s minion) that follows Johannes around when its master can’t spy on him:

It looked at them; first with one eye, then with the other. Then, to show it was a polymath among crows, it went back to the first eye.

Besides laughing out loud, I also learned a few new words. You can view them below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

All in all, I can’t wait to read the next one!

 

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Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente

 

This wasn’t the first book of Ms. Valente that I read. And like that one, this book was a beautiful hot mess. Her prose is almost succulent enough that you can bite into it and yet, in the end, you will be left thinking, What did I just read? 

 

Was it a commentary on the Russian Revolution? Was the book about Russian myths? Was it a coming of age story? Or, was it simply fantasy YA? I’d say there was a bit of everything in it!

 

 

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The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

 

A friend who exclusively reads middle-grade fantasy is crazy about this series. Since her taste in books and mine matches, I was excited to get started with this one.

 

It left me both underwhelmed and pleasantly surprised. The writing is crisp in a way that it immerses you in the scene playing before you. Consider the lines below on how the protag had been raised by her single mother:

Maura had decided sometime
before Blue’s birth that it was barbaric to order children about,
and so Blue had grown up surrounded by imperative question
marks.

I also loved the wry humor, which can be seen clearly in the example below:

Calla had once observed that Maura had no pets because her
principles took too much time to take care of.

What I wasn’t that crazy about was the mystery that the story is based on. I liked the characters and mostly enjoyed the book — even though I caught on to the twist pretty early. But the story failed to excite about the mystery. And there was a lot of random stuff going on. The tree that showed the future, for instance, why was it even there?

 

I’d like to continue with this trilogy though.

 

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My Soul to Keep by Rachel Vincent

 

I always enjoy reading anything by Rachel Vincent. Even though this book is majorly YA-flawed, I still enjoyed it because I am used to her writing style. No, I don’t have anything against YA, but certain things like the heroine failing to see that her bf was the demonic drug supplier can only happen in YA books.

 

Anyway, this series has grown on me and I intend to see it through.

 

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Damned by Chuck Palahniuk

 

Another book set in hell. I had been looking for such books because I had landed on the square for it in book bingo. The Cabal book was enough for it but since I had already done the hard work researching them and because I had liked Fight Club, I went ahead with this one too.

 

Normally, it bugs me when a male author writes a female character who is annoyingly smart or just full of themselves. Like these lines below made me wanna smack the heroine:

Such vocabulary props served as my eye shadow, my breast implants, my physical coordination, my confidence. These words: erudite and insidious and obfuscate, served as my crutches.

And it happened many more times. Most of the time, though, the writing was good enough to rescue the book from abandonment. Consider this sample:

Trickling toenails threaten to become full-fledged avalanches which could bury us alive (alive?) in their talus of prickly keratin.

And this one:

That, I think, is the function of Hell: It’s a place of remembering. Beyond that, the purpose of Hell is not so much to forget the details of our lives as it is to forgive them.

I also learned some new words:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay, so I have no clue if the jejunum (part of the small intestine that absorbs nutrients from already digested food particles) has its roots in the word, jejune, or not. But it would be cool if it did, right?

 

As you can see, I didn’t do much reading this month. How did you fare?

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review 2018-11-23 20:37
Princess Elizabeth's Spy (Maggie Hope #2) by Susan Ella MacNeal
Princess Elizabeth's Spy (Maggie Hope, #2) - Susan Elia MacNeal

Maggie Hope fails out of the MI-5 boot camp due to her physical strength (and the lack thereof). However, just because she is not cut out to go overseas undercover, she is still capable and an asset to use on home soil. So she is given an assignment - tutor Princess Elizabeth in advance maths while really searching out for any saboteurs or German spies working in Windsor Castle.

 

This was an interesting and fast paced story once Maggie is at Windsor. The last book dealt with Irish rebels; this book deals with the British Fascist Party and the German spy network. Along with protecting the princesses and sniffing out the saboteurs, Maggie finds out more about her parents and the beginnings of love triangle form. And it turns out, Princess Elizabeth is a very astute student, putting Hope's lesson on cryptography into good use. Maggie is good at maths, not so much reading people - I hope with more experience, she is gets better at that much needed skill.

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text 2018-11-11 05:07
DNF-ing This One: The Littlest Cowboy
The Littlest Cowboy (The Texas Brands Book 1) - Maggie Shayne

The Littlest Cowboy

by Maggie Shayne
Book 1 of The Texas Brands

Rating:  No Rating
Progress:  7% into book

 

 

Baby on his Doorstep!  Sheriff Garrett Brand has raised his entire brood of siblings single-handedly, and he’s done his best to teach them some values, to mold them into honorable, responsible, and trustworthy human beings.  So when a baby lands on the doorstep of the Texas Brand, his first question is which younger brother is in for a butt-kicking?  But the little fellow isn't named after Ben, or Wes, or Adam, or Elliot.  The little feller is named after him – Garrett Ethan Brand–according to the note his mama left behind.

He’s still racking his brain to figure it all out, when a woman shows up at the ranch in the dead of night, spitting, fighting mad, and accusing Garrett of murdering her sister and stealing the baby!

Chelsea is confused, heartbroken, and too mad to think straight, and the same trouble that found her poor sister is right on her tail.  But of all the places she and the baby could've wound up, Garrett thinks this ranch is the best one.

Because this is one family that knows how to pull together and trouble doesn't stand a chance against The Brands of Texas.



I had a bad feeling about this book after reading the first chapter.  On a whim, I started skimming the rest of the book and found that I probably wouldn't like what came next.  From the short snippets I read here and there, we've got a bunch of cavemen-like alphas, and one irrational TSTL heroine.  There's also a lot of telling instead of showing.

There was one particular scene I decided to read, somewhere mid-book where we find out that there's a very dangerous man out there trying to find the heroine and her baby nephew.  A very dangerous man who might have killed her sister.  A very dangerous man who has resources and other dangerous men working for him.  So what does she do?  She decides that she's just going to go straight home where she lives, all by her lonesome, with a child in tow... where said very dangerous man already knows how to find her, and can just waltz up to her home and snatch the baby... maybe killing her while he's at it.

To be fair, to her, however, at some point in the book, the men all decide together that they need not tell the womenfolk just HOW dangerous this very dangerous man truly is.  They don't need to know.  No need to worry the fragile hearts of the little ladies, right?

......

There's entirely too much testosterone going on in this book for me.  Since when is NOT telling someone how much danger she (or even he) is in a good idea?  Ever?

I've read a lot of crap books lately.  I'm too tired to put up with another one.

I loved Maggie Shayne's Brown and de Luca series and have been hoping for another great from her.  But I suppose sometimes you just cut your losses where you can.  This is an earlier Maggie Shayne work, though, so maybe I should stick with her newer stuff.

I picked this book as one of my Reading Assignment Challenge books, and just as well, it was a Kindle freebie.  So I'm glad I got this book out of the way.

Moving on to something else now!

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/11/dnf-ing-this-one-littlest-cowboy.html
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