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review 2018-09-07 10:33
The Last Werewolf
The Last Werewolf - Glen Duncan

by Glen Duncan

 

This started out with a different tone than I usually see in werewolf novels. More of a crime drama or conspiracy story tone as it's established that with the murder of a werewolf in Berlin, the protagonist is the last of his kind and an organisation that hunts down and kills werewolves will now be focused on him.

 

This was a very literary read. Despite a few descriptions of violence, the use of language made it a joy to read and the first person pov of the werewolf throughout felt very intimate and personal. I found myself wanting him to survive. It had a few very sexual references. Apparently being a werewolf sends the libido into animal rut. But both the sex and violence stopped short of becoming gratuitous, even if it nudged that parameter on occasion.

 

There was a lot of suspense well done and a few twists to keep things interesting. The last few chapters had me breathless!

 

The writing was so good that I went to see what else the author had written and found that this is actually a trilogy! I'll look forward to reading the next books. This was one of those stories that when it ended, I just had to sit a few moments, staring into space while processing the feels. It really had a strong emotional impact on me.

 

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review 2018-08-21 11:05
a great easy read
Wanted - Bad Boyfriend - TA Moore
I was gifted my copy of this book, that I write a review was not required. Everyone thinks Nate should have a boyfriend, NEEDS one to be happy. But is ok by himself, mostly. So he hatches a plan with the island's resident bad boy. Pretend to be together for a bit, the Flynn can do his thing, dump Nate and everyone will leave him alone. Only, there are a couple of problems with said plan: both are surprised by the chemistry between them, and actually, Flynn turns out to be quite a good boyfriend. And it becomes a case on not pretending. I LIKED this book. I did not love it though, and *insert wailing sound* I don't know why! It's well told, from both Flynn and Nate's point of view, in the past tense. It has some sexy bits, some funny bits, some difficult reading bits and some emotional bits. We don't get all of Flynn and Nate's history in one go, it comes along bits at time. In fact, much of Flynn's history is still unexplained. I still don't know which of those rumours were true, and just why he did not return for his father's funeral. It does throw a CORKER twist at you though! I did NOT see that one coming, not at all!! There I was, merrily reading away *don't tell anyone* on a quiet Sunday afternoon at work, and BOOM!!! Moore throws that at me and I'm like SAY WHAT NOW!?!?!?!?!? Out loud! I rarely am vocal when reading (more so when listening) and my colleague is like "Are you okay?" And I'm like "but look what she did!" Seriously well played with that Ms Moore, very VERY well played! Like I said, it's well told, well written and well delivered. I saw no spelling or editing errors to spoil my reading experience and I read it in that one afternoon. I'm just sorry I didn't love it though. 4 solid stars **same worded review will appear elsewhere**

 

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review 2018-07-22 14:35
kinda creeps up on ya!
Edge Jump - Elizabeth Noble
Independent reviewer for Divine Magazine, I was gifted my copy of this book direct from the author, that I write a review was not required. Brett retired from professional ice hokey and now runs the centre his parents set up, to teach. His sister, Celia and her partner, Rylan, has moved onto ice dancing. But a senseless crime takes Celia away from both Brett and Rylan, and brings them both together at their darkest time. Then Rylan is hit with a far worse tragedy. Can they get through this, together? You know, sometimes, you read a blurb, and your brain plots away, and that's what you expect from the book?? Then the book actually goes off in a way you did not see coming?? And you loved it for it?? This book, right here! I have NO idea what I thought would happen here, but I was very surprised with it! It really did kinda-creep-up-on-me!! Brett and Rylan have chemistry, right from the start. But Brett keeps himself back a bit, and it pulls at you, the way Rylan reacts to that. There is a lot of pulling on the heart strings here! I loved the way Brett gradually introduced Rylan to BDSM, and that Rylan took to it, like a duck to water. I didn't think it overly explicit though and I LIKED that here, but that might just be me! I did not get how Celia and her fiance's deaths would play out. Did NOT see that one coming at me, not at all! Rylan's recovery from what happened is long and painful, but you feel it **taps chest* right here. Every time his brain threw self doubt at him. Every time Brett pulled him out of it, and you cheer, when he finally is able to get back on the ice. And when Rylan listens to Brett when he says "I'm not going anywhere!" I've read a couple of other books by Ms Noble, and I do like how she can switch from paranormal, to contemporary, to more sexy books. High skill of an author, I think! It crept up on, this book, it really did! 4.5 stars **same worded review will appear elsewhere**

 

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review 2018-06-17 21:33
The Double Helix
The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA - James D. Watson

Gossip, backstabbing, petty squabbles, arrogance, snobbishness, and misogyny take a front row seat in this personal account of how the double helix structure of DNA was discovered. 

 

I expected more from Watson's book. 

 

And then there is the question about Rosalind Franklin's contribution to the discovery.

 

While Watson does spend some time in the epilogue to credit Franklin for her work on the subject, it seems too little, too late. He spends the entire book painting her as an uncooperative, dour, argumentative, bossy, frump with an "acid smile" in a career mostly reserved for unattractive women who have little chance of catching a husband. (He actually introduces her in the book in almost exactly those terms.)

 

Oh, and there is little explanation of the structure of DNA itself. It really is more of an account of his thoughts on girls, stomach pains, and on the personal lives of people Watson encountered when working on the project. 

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review 2018-06-16 21:42
All the old feels, and why this is in my personal canon
King Of The Wind - The Story Of Godolphin Arabian - Marguerite Henry

When my copy arrived from Thrift Books yesterday and it was EXACTLY what I had been looking for, I burst into tears.  I haven't completely stopped crying yet.  It's so beautiful!

 

As I went through it later last night, I did find a few small pencil marks which I think I can safely remove.  And as I went through it later last night, I also went through several more tissues.  Yeah, it's that kind of story.

 

How much of the Godolphin Arabian's story as told by Marguerite Henry is true and how much is story, I don't know.  At least part is true, of course, because he was a real horse and the history of his descendants is well known and documented.  But all the stuff before that, from his birth in Morocco through his trials in Paris and London, who knows?

 

Like most little girls, I was fascinated by horses.  When my grandparents moved from Edison Park, IL, to Roselle, where they had a couple of acres of land "out in the country," all I could think of was having a horse out there.

 

 

Of course, that never happened.  Once in a while when we visited I'd see a horse that someone else in the neighborhood owned, but I never got one.  The drive from our house to theirs, however, wound through the stable area of Arlington Park Racetrack, and when we went there during the summer I would literally hang my head out the window of our '53 Chevy to smell the horses.  If by some chance I actually happened to see one, well, that was even more terrific.

 

Oddly, even though we lived barely a mile from the track, I don't think I went there more than a dozen times in fifteen years.

 

I never became a huge racing aficionado, filling my head with pedigrees and times of various horses who became famous in those growing-up years of the 1950s and '60s.  A few stuck in my imagination, though, and none more than Round Table, the "little brown horse" who was so famous he warranted a visit from Queen Elizabeth. 

 

Not long after I moved to Arizona, I struck up a friendship with a woman whose husband was very much a horse racing fan.  I was at their home one day in the summer of 1987 when I happened to flip through one of his racing magazines and learned that Round Table had recently died, and I burst into tears.  Yeah, the feels, for a horse I never knew.

 

Round Table was a turf horse, claimed to be the greatest ever, and for 40 years or so even had a race at Arlington named after him.

 

King of the Wind begins with Man O' War, who was descended from the Godolphin Arabian, as are most Thoroughbreds.  I learned from Marguerite Henry's Album of Horses that there were three foundational sires of the breed: the Byerley Turk, the Darley Arabian, and the Godolphin Arabian.  From other reading - I devoured books about horses, too - I knew that Man O' War's dam (mother) was Mahubah, described as "a Rock Sand mare." 

 

Man O' War, like Secretariat, was a big red horse, not at all like Round Table.  But the little brown horse was also descended from Rock Sand, and through him the line goes back to the Godolphin Arabian.

 

All. The. Feels.

 

And all this was in my mind even before the book arrived yesterday.  As I read it last night, yes, there were details that I had forgotten, because after all it's been close to half a century since I last saw it.  But one thing struck me more than anything else, and it had nothing to do with all the feels about Sham the horse and Agba the stableboy and Grimalkin the cat and Lady Roxana the mare and the other things I did remember. In fact, it wasn't even really a detail about the story itself.

 

Agba is a stableboy in the vast complex of the Sultan of Morocco (even though the horse is believed to have actually come from Yemen). Unable to speak, Agba nonetheless is devoted to the horses in his charge, especially a pregnant broodmare.  It is the holy month of Ramadan, and the Sultan has decreed that the horses shall abstain from food from sunrise to sunset along with their human caretakers.  Agba is able to ignore the temptations of food all around him, but he is very conscious of the strain this puts on the pregnant mare. 

 

I don't know if Agba ever existed or not.  Maybe there are notes in the life of the Earl of Godolphin, who acquired the stallion, that tell of the boy who could not speak.  I don't know.  But what I do know is that I learned two things from the fictional character: that Ramadan was a holy month of a respected religion and that a person with what most people think of as a handicap can still be a hero.

 

My maternal grandmother's family is Jewish, so even though I grew up in a nice, white, christian suburb, I knew about prejudice, and I knew about the Holocaust when few of my schoolmates did. I didn't know, at the age I got my copy of King of the Wind, about anti-Islam bigotry, though it wouldn't be much longer. But what Marguerite Henry did, even if she did it unintentionally, was to give this one reader a portrait of someone very different from myself yet who I could see as a kind of role model.

 

That's a pretty powerful thing. To this day, I tend to judge people on the basis of what they do, not on the basis of what they are.

 

When I worked at the public library and when I was a grocery store cashier, we had two customers no one wanted to wait on.  At the library she was a quiet woman who almost never spoke, but came in frequently and checked out lots of books.  One of my fellow librarians called her "creepy" because she was always staring at people.  It didn't take me long to figure out this patron was severely hearing impaired.  She stared because she was trying to read our lips.  Most of the librarians turned away from her, making the experience even worse for her.  I spoke directly to her, and we got along fine.  I never did learn ASL, and she still spoke very little, but she smiled.

 

The same with the man at the grocery store.  He tried to teach me to sign, but it's hard when there's a whole line of impatient people behind you.  He learned to look for me when he came into the store so he would have a better experience checking out.

 

Had I learned that from Agba?  From Marguerite Henry?  Maybe.  Maybe from Sham, the Sultan's horse who endured so much and never gave up. 

 

King of the Wind is a beautiful book.  I'm glad I posted here about my frustration with the first order that ended up being a flimsy paperback, and I'm doubly, triply glad that Chris found this copy at Thrift Books.  It seems like $7 shouldn't be a strain on a budget, but at the moment it really is for me, but I'll do without something else along the way because this was definitely a book I needed.

 

The paperback will be donated somewhere, and I still have another copy on order from Better World.  I'll probably donate that one, too.  But this one, with its slightly tattered corner, is a keeper.

 

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