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review 2017-12-10 12:34
A Fun, Enjoyable Historical Young Adult Book Not To Be Miss
The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue - Mackenzi Lee

Historical fiction is a genre I am most interested to read but have a fear that I might put it down. One week ago, I have heard a lot of good reviews and opinions about The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue and with an upcoming book discussion and Skype with Mackenzi Lee. Here's some thing I have to be honest about - I would never pick up a book with a book cover that features a real person. I admit I was skeptical at first but after a while, just trusting my intuitive I give it a go and read it.

 

I have no regrets in the end.

 

Set in a 18th century period, The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue begins with Henry 'Monty' Montague, a care less, young drunk charmer who happens to be a born gentleman from a high-class family waking up next to his best friend Percy, one day before their Grand Tour around Europe. Tagging along is Henry's sister Felicity, who is on her way to a boarding school. Every thing was thought as plan by Henry's father, only that it goes very wrong because of Monty's behavior that leads to (surprise) an unexpected turn of events filled with adventure, mystery, conspiracy, a little bit of science and of course, romance. For a young adult book, its a fun read. What is more surprising is that its so light and easy, its enjoyable in many ways. While its pretty straight forward, its the combination of all that makes this relaxing that doesn't need much deep thought but just sit back, rest and drink your preferred tea (or coffee).

 

I would recommend this without a doubt for anyone who wants light reading or a historical buff but in a young adult manner. I can't say much as it will spoil a whole lot more but this is a book, despite how people say never judge a book by its cover, should pick it up and read it.

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review 2017-12-10 05:52
Who am I? : "A Scanner Darkly" by Philip K. Dick
A Scanner Darkly - Philip K. Dick

I'm a big Pynchon fan, too, so don't get me wrong here, but it seems to me like the main difference between Dick's writing style and Pynchon's--or at least, the difference that mostly accounts for Dick being treated as a "pulp" author with some interesting ideas whereas Pynchon is considered a major "literary" figure--is simply that Dick tends to write in crisp, straightforward sentences that just directly say what he means to say, whereas Pynchon's writing is (in)famously dense with allusion and rambling esoteric figurative expressions to the point where it can be an intellectual exercise in its own right just trying to figure out what the hell Pynchon is trying to say.

 

All of which makes major Dick novels like “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” or “Radio Free Albemuth” sort of resemble, IMHO, what “Gravity's Rainbow” might have looked like if Pynchon had been working with editors who expected him to actually keep tight deadlines.

 

I think Dick was really gifted as a wry satirist, too, and this is something I think he's often under-appreciated for. Probably my favourite single episode in all of Dick's stories I've ever read--and I was quite overjoyed to see this faithfully recreated in the film adaptation--is still the "suicide" sequence from “A Scanner Darkly”. In short, I don't think Dick was ever bad at writing--he just doesn't seem to have had any real interest in the kind of writing that people like James Joyce or William Burroughs (or Pynchon, for whom to my mind it seems that both Joyce and Burroughs were major stylistic influences) were famous for.

 

 

If you're into SF, read on.

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review 2017-12-09 13:00
Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley
Pretty Girl-13 - Liz Coley

Trigger Warnings: Some are spoilers, so click if you want to know before reading the book.

Rape, Molestation, Abuse, Incest.

(spoiler show)

 

 

There are a couple things I would change, but overall, this was a good, fast paced read.

 

 

Pretty Girl-13 was fascinating on a morbid level. Dark. Emotional. Gut-wrenching.

 

The segments with 2nd POV threw me for a loop as I did not understand them at first. They seemed weird and out of place. They also made me think there was something supernatural going on. I had no idea who or what was narrating those parts. Once I figured it out, it was an “ah-ha” moment and I enjoyed them. It gave the book a creepier vibe. Unimaginable some of the stuff those scenes showed us.

 

Sadly, I guessed almost all the twists. I was hoping so much that what I guessed was wrong, because it was not fun to know everything, ruining the mystery.

 

You should go into books like this blindly. I’m glad I did. I had no idea what to expect going in, only going by the vague synopsis. Once you know the gist of the plot, it wouldn’t be as engaging. Even knowing the twists, I still enjoyed reading them.

 

We learn about halfway through that something dark happened in Angie’s childhood, unrelated to the main plot, but explaining why Angie is the way she is. I did not like how this was resolved. Another thing that I did not like was how some of her former friends treated her. It is just not decent human behavior. It seemed highly unnecessary and I feel like if the characters were going to be like that, they shouldn’t be needed. I do get it, though. It was an excuse for Angie to take control and be strong, but I still could have done without it.

 

Angie’s friendship with Kate was a healthy one. A good one. I really liked it. There needs to be more girl love in books and not girls hating on girls. I also loved Angie’s relationship with Dr. Grant. Grant cared about Angie on more than a professional level.

 

Another person I liked was Detective Brogan, especially at the end, as they wrap up the case.

 

So much happened to Angie, it was almost too much. The girl never seemed to get a break, even the ending was bitter sweet. On one hand, I get why Angie did what she did, but on the other hand, I do not know if I could do it.

 

I think the ending will be one I’m never sure if I liked it or not.

 

There are also questions left unanswered, that only one person has the answer to and he can’t answer them now.

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review 2017-12-08 04:59
Finally, a YA book for the guys...
Bad Call - Stephen Wallenfels

I finished this last night, after the last third of the book really sped up and kept me awake until I was done! 

I finally think I've come across a YA book that guys will actually like. It's set with mountain-climbing as the main activity and Yosemite as the backdrop; the author, Stephen Wallenfels, is big into the outdoors and mountain-climbing, and through the dialog and writing, it shows. The book is described as a thriller, although it's low on 'thrill' content, plus there's a complicated 'relationship scenario' going on in the story that directs a lot of the plot, and that took me by surprise. The book goes back and forth between what's going on for the different characters but centers mostly around one of them, and flashes back to some events between them at their private school. There were a few times that those lost me a bit and I wanted to stay in the present, but that's because I wanted to keep pushing up that mountain. I also wanted Wallenfels to push more at the suspense and thrill content because I think he could and should have. But maybe that's because I always want a bit more blood in the snow!

Instead of an ARC, I was generously sent a finished hardcover with that gloriously simple red and white cover design! I'm super grateful for that (BookishFirst) and am glad I got to have an early read of this YA novel. I'd love to hear if the boys pick this one up! You won't find me climbing Yosemite any time soon...

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review 2017-12-06 13:00
The Broccoli Tapes by Jan Slepian
The Broccoli Tapes - Jan Slepian

I read this when I was a child, most likely between the ages of 10-13. I remember really liking it, as I enjoyed books told in diary format, and this book is told through recordings made on cassette tapes, which as a child I thought was the neatest idea ever.

 

**I'm super vague, but this could be a spoiler**

 

Toward the middle of the book something happens that would make most people cry, then at the end of the book something else happened that make people cry. The first thing is something I think you would be more upset by, but I was more upset by the last thing. I felt depressed, bawled like a baby and needed something to cheer me up after.

(spoiler show)


The thing that happened at the end... I forgot it was coming. How did child me handle it, I wonder?

I love that this book could still make me have such a strong emotional reaction. It held up with time, though obviously dated with usage of tapes. Everything else is still very relatable.

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