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review 2017-11-22 12:43
Ordinary People ★★★★★
Ordinary People - Judith Guest

I wish I had the skill to truly analyze what makes the difference between a book where the author tries to manipulate the reader’s emotions and only gets an “hmm how sad” from me, or worse, eyerolls, and a book that has me glued to the pages and leaking tears. All I know is that this is one of the latter.

 

In spite of a story that is almost all character, with almost all events taking place within those characters’ thoughts and emotions and in their interactions with one another, and in spite of a present-tense, stream of consciousness writing style that might have annoyed me in another author’s hands, this story of a family fragmenting and reforming in the aftermath of tragedy absorbed me completely and wrung my emotions inside out. It’s been a while since I had a good cry over a book, and it was deeply satisfying.

 

Vintage paperback, picked up from my public library’s gimme shelves, where they make unusable donated books and culled books available to the public in return for a suggested monetary donation.

 

I read this for The 16 Tasks of the Festive Season, square 4: Book themes for Penance Day: Read a book that has a monk, nun, pastor / preacher or priest as a protagonist, or where someone is struggling with feelings of guilt or with their conscience (regardless over what). In this book, members of a family are struggling with their sense of guilt or failed responsibility in the aftermath of tragedy

(Con over surviving when his stronger brother drowned and Cal over somehow failing his son when he attempted suicide).

(spoiler show)

 

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review 2017-11-22 09:10
Death Comes By Amphora - Roger Hudson

Athens,461 BC. A young man comes to Athens only to find that his uncle has died under mysterious circumstances. Pretty soon it is clear that murder is the keyword and the hunt for the culprit(s) starts in earnest. Athens is in turmoil, two factions,the radicals,with Pericles as a leading figure(who believe in a distribution of power among the entire population, except slaves(!)...)and the aristocrats,heads of military families and so on..(who believe that only a very few, and very well connected, are entitled to lead,to take decisions. ..)are at daggers drawn. History,of course,tells us which faction did eventuality win and consequently led to Athens Golden Age and to something called democracy. 

The historical aspect of the story is very well researched. But,because it is such a dominant part of the story,the mystery story tends to be put aside. After a while one is no longer sure there is a mystery at all and it becomes a tad long winded. A firmer editing might have been a good idea. 

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review 2017-11-21 21:20
A Morbid Taste for Bones
A Morbid Taste for Bones - Ellis Peters

This was a fun read. And I might just have found my favorite literary monk in Brother Cadfael.

 

[Source]

 

He is a man of the world, who turned to priesthood in his later years, he isn´t the most pious monk, he is keenly aware when one of his brethren is full of BS, he is a topnotch matchmaker, he is an amateur sleuth and on top of it all he is Welsh (don´t ask me why, I really like that about his character).

 

So in this novel there is a small town in Wales, a murder, a lot of monks and relationsships are at stake or are formed and Cadfael is in the midst of it all, trying to untangle all the mysteries and problems that arise on this journey. And I enjoyed every second of this book and I can´t wait to read the second novel in the series.

 

 

16 Task of the Festive Season: Penance Day (Square 4):  Read a book that has a monk, nun, pastor / preacher, priest or other representative of the organized church as a protagonist, or where someone is struggling with feelings of guilt or with their conscience (regardless over what).

 

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review 2017-11-21 18:52
Nadya's War
Nadya's War - C.S. Taylor
Third Book for the 16 Festive Tasks- Square 3- WWII
 
 
Nadya has earned the nickname of Little Boar as a pilot within the Russian Red Army’s 586th all-female fighter regiment during World War II for her fierce determination and charging the enemy. Nadya dreams of becoming an Ace pilot and bringing pride to her family for her service during the war.  However, when an aerial fight leaves Nadya as the only survivor and with burns and trauma, she struggles to fly again.  Nadya soon finds herself addicted to morphine and able to fly, bent on revenge to shoot down the German Pilot who killed her friends.  She also finds herself under investigation with a very dangerous man.  With the help of her friends, her mechanic Karla and new partner, Alexandra, Nadya continues to fly and come closer to becoming an Ace as well as shooting down the German pilot.  
 
Nadya's war pulled me into the world of female pilots during the war.  While I was aware that women from several countries fought in the war, I did not know about the Russian all-female fighter regiment.  Nadya's point of view was very interesting, since she is very eager to prove herself, but does not fall in line with Stalin's values; primarily, Nadya is still religious.  The aerial fights drew me in the most, I could see the details of the planes and feel the adrenaline of the maneuvers.  The characters that made of the regiment were all interesting, however, I do wish some of the others were fleshed out more.  Nadya was steadfast in her beliefs, to the point of being boorish, earning her a nickname.  At points she did seem immature, although, like many of the others fighting in WWII, she was very young.  The romance that was introduced was very surprising, especially for Stalin's Russia, this was ok with me, but didn't seem to have enough of a prominent role.  The story arc seemed to be lacking something for me, I felt like I was waiting for something that didn't happen.  Either the romance or the revenge story needed to come to a head in a bigger way.  Overall, an intense story of women fighter pilots in World War II.
 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
 
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review 2017-11-21 16:46
Annoyed this is my 337th Review
Startup - Doree Shafrir

Really did not enjoy this at all. Overly descriptive to the point of distracting, not much of a plot, the characters were underdeveloped, and the ending just hangs there. I guess it's to let us readers imagine what would happen next. I imagine that the three women characters went off somewhere to talk to Lena Dunham about things, since I think they have as much understanding about what feminism does as she has. 

 

Let's begin. "Startup" I think was supposed to be a tongue and cheek look at the startup and tech industry in New York. Told in the third person we follow 3 characters.

 

Mack McAllister (rising star in the startup industry) Sabrina (back in the workforce working for one of Mack's managers) Katya (a reporter) who works for Sabrina's husband, Dan. There is also the character of Isabel who I guess you could say is the catalyst for a lot of things that happen in this book, but I don't consider her or Dan main characters really. They are just there for the majority of the book. 

 

I didn't like any of the characters. The men were awful, but I think I was supposed to root for the three women (Sabrina, Katya, and Isabel) at the end of the book and I didn't. The three of them were just as terrible as the men in this book and I hated that we had Katya being a particular hypocrite about what the character of Mack got up to considering what was going on with her too. 

 

Honestly most of the things that were discussed went over my head a fair bit. I am 37 so I am on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. I loathe Snapchat and will never get an account. Why does anyone think I need to see a picture of you with a dog nose? Ahem. 

 

I didn't like the writing in this at all. It took til about the 40 percent mark to even get the story up to interesting status for me. The first couple of chapters were painfully over written and it was hard to even read some of the sentences. 

There was one person at MorningRave who did not post any selfies to Instagram. She was there to dance, and only to dance. Nor did she say hello to Mack. She knew who he was, but he was not yet aware of her existence. Katya Pasternack was at the party with her boyfriend, Victor, who himself was a founder of a small company called StrollUp.

 

Katya weighed ninety-nine pounds and had never gone to the gym a day in her life, but she danced at this party as though it were her job.

 

Mack McAllister exited his East Village apartment building wearing a royal-blue gingham-checked button-down shirt tucked into jeans and a navy blazer. He carried a soft brown briefcase with two buckles, given to Mack by his father when he graduated from the University of Texas and on which his initials--WSM, William Sumner McAllister--were embossed in gold capital letters.  

 

The ending fell flat for me. I guess I should have been all girl power. Instead I rolled my eyes. 

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