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review 2018-03-22 01:19
Seriously... I'm Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres
Seriously... I'm Kidding - Ellen DeGeneres

Seriously… I’m Kidding has been on my to-read list for a while now. When it finally came available to borrow from my library I jumped at the chance to listen to the audio version.


Narrated by Ellen herself, this audio book was just like listening to the opening monologue on her talk show. I enjoyed her observations on the world around her and admire her for keeping her jokes clean. Unlike most comedians, Ellen’s humor is suitable for all ages.


Although an enjoyable listen, I did find some of the rambling to be a bit much and settled on a 3 star rating. I would recommend Seriously… I’m Kidding to fans of Ellen DeGeneres.

Source: mlsredhousereviews.wordpress.com/2018/03/08/seriously-im-kidding-by-ellen-degeneres
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review 2018-03-22 00:38
Master of the House of Darts by Aliette de Bodard
Master of the House of Darts - Aliette de Bodard

Series: Obsidian and Blood #3


In this conclusion to the Obsidian and Blood trilogy, Acatl has to investigate a possible plague after a warrior collapses during the Revered Speaker's return ceremony. Acatl is High Priest of the Dead and the whole trilogy is a historical fantasy based on the Aztec Empire in the 15th century. It's pretty neat, although somewhat bloody (you know the Aztecs and blood sacrifices).


The only bummer was that I found that the text had a higher number of mistakes than I like (a few missing words and typos).

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review 2018-03-22 00:21
Frankenstein in Baghdad: A Novel - Ahmed Saadawi
“Because I'm made up of body parts of people from diverse backgrounds - ethnicities, tribes, races and social classes - I represent the impossible mix that never was achieved in the past. I'm the first true Iraqi citizen, he (the Whatsitsname) thinks.”

I'm completely gobsmacked after finishing FRANKENSTEIN IN BAGHDAD. I didn't really know what to expect. I'm not usually a big horror reader, but this sounded so interesting, I decided how could it hurt to try? So I borrowed the fairly short library book, telling myself I could just give it back if I wasn't into it. Not only was I into it, I read it quickly in two sittings and I've been talking about this and one other book to anyone who will listen for days.


The large number of characters are fully realized and formed. It's incredibly complex and has a deep, twisty narrative with various interwoven storylines. It's satire, dark witty humor, and on a surface level both funny and freakish. Then the minute you think for a second about what's going on, this horror novel is deeply disturbing on myriad levels. It's allegorical, it's a straight-up retelling of Shelley's Frankenstein, it's a government spoof, and a few other things.


In US-occupied Baghdad, we start off with classified documents about a "story." It involves all the usual nonsense the US government is fond of doing, and my first thought was "I can see the government classifying everything and arresting people for a story." Seemed highly realistic to me. 


It may be a substandard horror novel. I wasn't scared. It may be a poor translation, or it may simply be that the terror is found in a different reading. I was disturbed and slightly tortured about the underlying message and circumstance being satirized -- the American occupation of Baghdad, the constant drones, the literal blowing-apart of both people and a country. 


There is some true brilliance of social, political, national, religious, human, etc commentary offered.Some people found it "slow." I'd guess they were looking for a horror novel only, not one that integrates the many facets this novel brings. 


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text 2018-03-21 19:58
Reading progress: 10%.
Too Like the Lightning - Ada Palmer

What's up with all the references to 18th century stuff? Is it eventually supposed to add something to the story?


Oh, okay, fine -enough of a scholar they know such things but already excusing self from writing as if from our century while pointing out (sometimes slipping into) the style of own century.  I get it; this is in the future where of course language has changed along with gender roles/perception/usage.


It's wearing thin having reader addressed constantly supposedly moving between three styles.  If this book will be breaking the fourth wall to address me the entire story length rather than letting story progress and immerse me, it may not be for me.  


Get on with the story already; you've set the scene, the atmosphere and hinted at lots of complex politics and worldbuilding.  Now follow through and stop narrating subserviently to us ignorant readers who must be spoonfed 18th century philosophers with the utmost apologies for doing so.  It ain't an apology or an accident if you keep doing it.


How on earth did this get so highly rated and awarded?  The "what if" of ditching gender and nationalism -- while here -- so far isn't well done.  The writing has yet to flow well into story unless this is one long-ass foreword where not yet into the story part.

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review 2018-03-21 18:54
See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt
See What I Have Done - Sarah Schmidt,Jennifer Woodward,Erin Hunter,Garrick Hagon

This is a fictionalized retelling of the Lizzie Borden murders and though it gets many “meh”reviews, I surprisingly enjoyed it very much. These people are awful! They are selfish, resentful, devious and maddening in their “woe is me” entitled thoughts but I LOVED reading about their misery. And, boy, did they all live in a cesspool of misery, resentment and hate.


I do think you have to be in a certain grumpy headspace to appreciate this one and I was there. We’ve had a never-ending winter and I hurt my back so bad I had to quit a much loved workout routine probably forever. Reading this when I did was perfect timing. We were all miserable together for a short time. So moral of this sad story? Don’t read this if you’re happy or want to be happy.


The story is told from three different points of view. Lizzie, Bridget the maid and a shady male character whose name I can’t recall right now. I listened to the audio which is narrated by three different people. The women do a fine job as does the male narrator EXCEPT when he attempts to do a female voice in a painful fake falsetto. Fortunately he’s mostly narrating the man part so the cringe level is tolerable.


Many people have an issue with the grit and grue factor in this book and I can understand that. This book is an experience. You can feel the cloying sickness permeating these people and for me that’s the mark of good writing but it’s almost enough to make one queasy and I have a strong stomach. There is an exceptional amount of blood everywhere but almost worse is the vomit and rumbling stomachs. These gross people have been eating rotten mutton broth for what seems like weeks on end! The maid suspects it’s bad but keeps adding more salt to disguise the reek of rotten meat. I’m guessing this was because poppa Borden was too much of a cheapskate to let food go to waste.  But I wasn’t there so who knows.


Many people also have issues with the way the story was told and I get that too. It jumps around in time and can be quite confusing and the people telling the story seem quite confused themselves at times. The end of the book leaves a lot of questions unanswered but still I love reading about these people. I cannot explain exactly why. Their relationships are poisonous and mean but if you’re up for that maybe you’ll love it too!

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