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review SPOILER ALERT! 2019-01-05 22:15
December 2018 — A Wrap-Up

 

 

After I had done the yearly overview, I realized I had yet to review the books I read in December. Granted, not much reading was done, but here they are:

42392437 These comics aren’t anything out of the ordinary but I do love the colorful graphics in them. Plus, people are being taken over by plants, and there is a conspiracy to be uncovered. All of this is happening in a post-apocalyptic setting. So, I am sticking to the series for now.

 

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I really wanted to love this one. I’m even collecting all the books in the series. But with all the amazing UF novels that I’ve already read, this one paled in comparison. Even if there hadn’t been so many issues with the characters like the protagonist was supposed to be a witch. But all she did was mess up and whine. Then there was her partner, a vampire. She was supposed to be on a no-blood diet. However, every time the protag even breathed, the vamp would be on her throat. They were aided by a pixie whom they treated like dirt even when he regularly risked his life for them. Finally, a new character was introduced in a highly suspect manner who made the worst decision ever. But the protag just went and trusted him.

 

Aside from those issues, the plot wasn’t making much sense either. I will be reading the next one in the series to see if things get better though.

 

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I’m still in the process of collecting all the books from this series. Just got this one last month and was going over it all excited. Suddenly, I found myself flipping its pages. Within no time, I had read the whole book! That is the magic of the Lemony Snicket books. They are funny but profound, and perfect reads for kids and adults alike. 
I do have a kind of project in mind for this series. Let’s see when I can make it happen!

 

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The first time I came across this series was a long time ago. From the joke cracked in it about teenage vampires (can’t recall if they were of the sparkly variety or not), I was sold. While I am still collecting all the books in this series. I thought it was time that I started reading the ones I had managed to snag. This is the second book in the series and it didn’t disappoint. Fowl is still his serious precocious but brilliant self and you know my love for Flavia. Butler can still kick ass and will do anything to keep his charge safe. I am also becoming fond of the fairy characters, including the butt-flap-opening farting Mulch. Will keep devouring book after book now that I have begun!

 

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I couldn’t make myself wait, so I started this one almost immediately. We begin to see changes in Fowl’s personality. The kid who has always been smarter than other kids his own age has spent his life being alienated. Now, he realizes the importance of friendship and connecting with others, even his parents! 

 

Holly is a strong female character who doesn’t shy away from danger, speaking her mind, or doing the right thing.


I was sad when I thought Butler would be out of commission now that he had aged 15 years. But he isn’t going to give up without a fight, is he? Typical Butler!

 

Root and Foaly bicker all the time, but they are fun to read about. 


P.S. I don’t think I can stop reading these books until I have read em all now.

 

This was what I read in December. How did you do?

 
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review 2019-01-03 22:38
I Was Told to Come Alone by Souad Mekhennet
I Was Told to Come Alone: My Journey Behind the Lines of Jihad - Souad Mekhennet

This memoir of a Muslim journalist reporting on jihad was interesting, though I wasn’t blown away in the way most reviewers seem to have been. Souad Mekhennet grew up primarily in Germany, the daughter of guest workers from Morocco and Turkey. She encountered racism and xenophobia on her way to becoming a successful journalist, but speaking Arabic and her familiarity with Middle Eastern cultures went a long way to ensure her success.

Aside from some description of her childhood, this book is focused almost exclusively on her professional life, with chapters organized around a visit to a particular place or an act of terror on which she was reporting. Mekhennet interviews dangerous people – on occasion braving serious danger in order to reach them – is arrested by Egyptian security forces, and impresses a lot of jihadists, who are willing to vouch for her and sometimes even propose to her. She asks everybody tough questions though and challenges everyone’s views.

I liked this book and learned from it, and I’m impressed by Mekhennet’s gutsiness. We need reporters like her to dig deep enough to get the real story, and to be skeptical and push back on what they’re being told. That said, I didn’t love her book. As a work of nonfiction about the state of the Muslim world and its relationship to the U.S. and Europe, I found it a little disconnected, as it focuses tightly on Mekhennet’s specific assignments and experiences. It reminded me of how much I don’t know about the Muslim world without filling in many of those gaps. But learning about how jihadists and their family members and supporters view the world was certainly enlightening.

As a memoir, it’s rather impersonal. Even as a teenager Mekhennet portrays herself as a powerhouse whose only obstacle to overcome is xenophobia; nothing more mundane like shyness about approaching important people or soliciting internships, or issues with dating, seems to faze her. (As an adult she often mentions wanting to marry, and briefly discusses dating, where her primarily stumbling block seems to be concern for her safety, such that she wants to chat anonymously for months before meeting a man.) Though I do give her credit for discussing the alienation she, like many other Muslims teens in Europe, felt after seeing hate crimes on the news and experiencing harassment and discrimination. Fortunately she had a strong support network, positive role models, and opportunities to succeed, but less lucky kids who feel despised are vulnerable to recruitment by terrorist organizations that understand their mindset very well.

Overall, I’m glad I read this, but didn’t have strong feelings about it. The book is a somewhat dense read that takes some time to get through, but it is informative, and the author has definitely had some interesting experiences.

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review 2019-01-02 16:40
Silver Borne / Patricia Briggs
Silver Borne - Patricia Briggs

Mercy is smart enough to realize that when it comes to the magical fae, the less you know, the better. But you can't always get what you want. When she attempts to return a powerful fae she previously borrowed in an act of desperation, she finds the bookstore locked up and closed down.

It seems the book contains secrets - and the fae will do just about anything to keep it out of the wrong hands. And if that doesn't take enough of Mercy's attention, her friend Samuel is struggling with his wolf side - leaving Mercy to cover for him lest his own father declare Samuel's life forfeit.

All in all, Mercy has had better days. And if she isn't careful, she may not have many more...

 

2018 Re-read:

 

I felt quite different this time around reading The Silver Borne.  I’m willing to give it a full 4 stars, without reservation.  I also enjoyed the Fae-ness of this installment much more this time around.  Which brings me back to a thesis of mine, that some books need to be given second chances, when I’m in a different mood. 

 

I’m still impatient will all the books that depict women’s relationships as competitive, rather than cooperative.  Perhaps because I’ve encountered more collegial or friendly relationships with the women in my life, rather than competitiveness.  There are always a slim minority of women who aren’t supportive, but I find far, far more who are willing to work together on things.  If there’s more of this female competitiveness out there than I run into, I am most glad that I’ve got a better situation.

 

I am now declaring myself slump-free, this book having been the last step needed to rekindle my love of reading.

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review 2019-01-02 16:25
Bone Crossed / Patricia Briggs
Bone Crossed - Patricia Briggs

Marsilia, the local Vampire Queen, has learned that Mercy crossed her by slaying a member of her clan—and she's out for blood. But since Mercy is protected from direct reprisal by the werewolf pack (and her close relationship with its sexy Alpha), it won't be Mercy's blood Marsilia is after.

It'll be her friends'.

 

2018 Re-read:

 

One of my favourite Mercy Thompson novels!  Lots of vampire drama, but most importantly we get to know Stefan better.  Is it wrong that I still wish Mercy had chosen him rather than Adam?  Mercy gets to really draw on her skinwalker powers, proving once again that being a growly werewolf is not necessarily as tough as the wily coyote!  (BTW, I saw a big fluffy coyote over the Xmas holidays, and thought of Ms. Thompson).

 

Re-reading this series has really re-set my internal reading-metre.  I’m enjoying myself again, recovering from a potential reading slump before it really got hold of me.  Thank you, Ms. Briggs, for giving me that oomph to escape the downward pull of the book-slump-undertow!

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text 2019-01-01 19:59
December Books

I read 36 books this month with an average score of 3.72. 14 of my books were young adult and 8 were graphic novels. My most-read genres were contemporary, fantasy, and romance.

 

My top reads were Just Mercy (Adapted for Young Adults): A True Story of the Fight for Justice - Bryan Stevenson and How to Be Successful without Hurting Men's Feelings - Sarah Cooper. My worst read was The Hero and His Elf Bride Open a Pizza Parlor in Another World - Kaya Kizaki.

 

 

5 Stars

Runaways Vol. 2: Best Friends Forever - Kris Anka,Rainbow Rowell Becoming - Michelle Obama  How to Be Successful without Hurting Men's Feelings - Sarah Cooper  Just Mercy (Adapted for Young Adults): A True Story of the Fight for Justice - Bryan Stevenson  

 

4.5 Stars

My Real Name is Hanna - Tara L. Masih Domino Vol. 1: Killer Instinct - Gail Simone,David Baldeón   

 

 

4 Stars

Orbiting Jupiter - Gary D. Schmidt  The Prodigy - John Feinstein  Grace and Fury - Tracy Banghart  One Giant Leap - Heather Kaczynski  Stealing the Show: How Women Are Revolutionizing Television - Joy Press  sick - Tomo Kurahashi,倉橋トモ  Akata Witch - Nnedi Okorafor  Ten Count, Vol. 1 - Rihito Takarai  Jack of Hearts (and other parts) - Lev A.C. Rosen  Girls of Paper and Fire - Natasha Ngan  Whose Boat Is This Boat?: Comments That Don't Help in the Aftermath of a Hurricane - The Staff of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert  Impostors - Scott Westerfeld  

 

3.5 Stars

For a Muse of Fire - Heidi Heilig Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll,Margaret W. Tarrant Hot Ice - Nora Roberts  The Witch's Vacuum Cleaner: Deluxe Hardback Collector's Edition - Terry Pratchett  Dengeki Daisy, Vol. 01 - Kyousuke Motomi As Old as Time - Liz Braswell  A Sweet Beast - Suji     

 

3 Stars

Marvel Rising - Devin Grayson,Ryan North,G. Willow Wilson,Roberto Di Salvo,Irene Strychalski,Marco Failla,Ramon Bachs,Georges Duarte  Girling Up: How to Be Strong, Smart and Spectacular - Mayim Bialik  Girl Code: Gaming, Going Viral, and Getting It Done - Andrea Gonzales,Sophie Houser  The Proposal - Jasmine Guillory  Archenemies - Marissa Meyer  Scream All Night - Derek Milman  The Silence of the Girls - Pat Barker  Then She Was Gone: A Novel - Lisa Jewell  Omoichigai ga Koi no Tane - Owaru  The Carpet People - Terry Pratchett  

 

2.5 Stars

The Hero and His Elf Bride Open a Pizza Parlor in Another World - Kaya Kizaki 

 

 

 

Books by author gender:

  • Male: 9
  • Female: 24
  • Male/Female Mix: 2
  • Unknown: 1

 

Books by format:

  • Physical: 17
  • Audio: 19
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