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review 2018-10-12 11:26
The Second Sister
The Second Sister (Amendyr Book 1) - Rae D. Magdon

by Rae D. Magdon

 

This is an interesting re-imagining of the Cinderella story that features the two step-sisters as important characters, second only to Eleanor herself. It takes place in an imaginary kingdom like the original, but with a stronger political intrigue. It's brutal in places and the personalities of the two step-sisters are well-developed. What I didn't know when I picked up the book is that the author is known for writing lesbian fiction, which puts a different spin on things.

 

In this re-imagining, the step-mother doesn't appear to be the problem. One of the step-sisters even appears friendly, at first. The other one, however, has a rather nasty disposition to say the least. The writing itself is excellent, but the plotting has some holes. The story overall has a more realistic feeling to it than the fairytale, yet possible ways out of Ellie's predicament weren't explored.

 

There's more abuse than I felt comfortable with in various ways. I was more bothered by the outright cruelty than any of the sexual aspects, but there was far more of that than I like to read about. I don't care if it's gay, straight or anything else, I'm just not into erotica and adding abusiveness doesn't help.

 

Scoring according to quality rather than my personal reading preferences. If the plotting were better, the writing and character development would score very high.

 

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review 2018-10-05 01:11
Book Review: A Springful Of Winters by Dawn Sister
A Springful Of Winters - Dawn Sister

It's not easy to write a compelling story about a neuro-divergent character that at once rings true and never veers into stereotypical territory.

It is clear early on that Kit is not neuro-typical. A bit socially awkward, as most social norms don't make sense to him, he has come to rely on a plethora of lists and contingency plans that allow him to venture into the world without becoming entirely overwhelmed. 

The book opens with a quick introduction to Kit, where we find ourselves seeing the world from his POV. The past year has been difficult for Kit. He lost his mother, who was his champion, and then his boyfriend, who was a bit of a jerk. And now Winter isn't quite done yet, even though the calendar says Spring has sprung, and Kit just cannot with the snow that's falling on this first day of Spring. 

I immediately loved Kit - his sweet and gentle nature, his love for his dog, his sadness, his outrage at the betrayal of snow in Spring, all served to make me want to hug him and tell him it would all be okay. 

Kit's neuro-divergence (he's on the autism spectrum) is never presented as a hindrance. It is, it exists. He makes it work for him, he tries to find reason and sense in an unreasonable and non-sensical world. He relies on Bessie, his service dog, and Yenta, an older woman who's his employer/landlord, and who treats him as the treasure he is. It is immediately clear that Kit loves Yenta, and Yenta loves Kit. 

Early on, a scene involving his service dog, who mostly listens, but in this scene doesn't, brings Kit to a location for which he has no contingency plan. This particular adventure serves as the catalyst to Kit meeting the man with eyes like the Spring.

And then he meets him again, during an unfortunate accident involving Kit's bike and the man's car door, and a bruised backside. 

While both incidents are humorous, they never felt as if we're expected to laugh at Kit. I giggled at the situations he finds himself in. He gets flustered because he's intrigued by the man with the eyes like Spring, and all of his contingency plans didn't prepare him for falling in love. The book gives insight into what may be termed the struggle neuro-divergent people have to deal with - not only because they have to make sense of a world that doesn't, but also because the world doesn't usually accommodate that what is not typical. 

Stephan, the man with eyes like the Spring, isn't portrayed as a hero who saves poor Kit - not all all. I think Stephan recognizes the beauty within Kit, the amazing person he is, and he falls just as hard. He rolls with the punches, he fits himself into the world Kit has created for himself, he listens intensely, and he celebrates Kit as a person. 

It's a poignant story, at novella-length, and I enjoyed it immensely. The writing is superb, and the author packs a fabulous story into a few pages. It's a quick read, but it stayed with me long after I closed the file on my e-reader. 

Fabulous, just fabulous. Recommended.

 

 

** I received a free copy of this book from its author in exchange for an honest review. **

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review 2018-09-26 14:18
The Good Sister by Morgan Jones
The Good Sister - Chris Morgan Jones

This was a very topical novel that I read for the new release square. It was about a seventeen-year-old girl called Sofia, from London, who moves to Syria to further the Islamic cause. Her father follows her over in order to try and persuade her to come home. We therefore have a duel narrative.

 

Aside from what you might think in regards to a book with such a topical theme, I found it lacking in substance somewhat.

 

When we meet Sofia she’s very ardent in her belief of the cause and this got a bit repetitive. Every problem she encounters is a test and she twists every event to suit the Koran.

 

She marries almost as soon as she arrives in Syria and also works for a type of militia at the same time. She begins communicating with a girl via twitter, who is actually her father (this happens early on) and using the internet as a means to locate her. The people surrounding her are always called brother and sister (hence the title), but this is where any sense of community between them ends. The majority of her associates, even a man she marries, are distant, cold and often violent. They have clearly been ravaged by war, resulting in warped personalities. Sofia continues to rationalise every occurrence she doesn’t agree with until her father finds her. This was the part of the novel I struggled with the most. There was much anger from Sofia towards her father and I kept waiting for this to be expanded on. Eventually when the two of them were alone this issue of animosity was discussed, but it was light on detail and substance. What I really couldn’t get past was Sofia’s about turn soon after she saw her father. All past discretion's were seemingly forgotten and Sofia, someone who was ardent in her beliefs, dropped them very quickly in an effort to escape. I admit, there was a very good reason for her to do this, but it just felt too easy.

 

Sofia’s narrative and her fathers were interesting, if a little scant. There didn’t feel like a huge amount of depth to them. Events were interesting and there were a couple of occasions were I was shocked, but except for the fact that I learnt some new things, it wasn’t great. The characters lacked much depth and the ending was a little predictable.

 

I read this for the new release square.

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text 2018-09-11 15:49
Reading progress update: I've read 41%.
The Good Sister - Chris Morgan Jones

It's fascinating learning about the warped thought process that justifies Islamic fundamentalism.

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text 2018-09-10 20:21
Reading progress update: I've read 35%.
The Good Sister - Chris Morgan Jones

Something totally different for my next read. This is about a seventeen-year-old girl who's been radicalised and moved to Syria. Her father's trying to find her. The chapters alternate between her and him as he tries to track her down. I'm really enjoying reading something a bit different. The plot is exciting, the writing well done and the characters fascinating.

 

 

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