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review 2018-02-01 18:45
The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison, narrated by Angela Dawe
The Book of the Unnamed Midwife: The Road to Nowhere, Book 1 - -Brilliance Audio on CD Unabridged-,Meg Elison,Angela Dawe

Just like in the novel REBECCA, we never learn the main character's name in this book. Hence the title!

 

I discovered Meg Elison through a few short stories she's written for horror anthologies and magazines and I decided that I wanted to try one of her novels. This one was recently on sale and to add the audio to the Kindle version didn't break the bank, and here we are.

 

THE BOOK of the UNNAMED MIDWIFE was a bleak post-apocalyptic tale wherein a disease wipes out nearly every woman on the planet. The scarcity of women soon becomes a problem for those that did survive. Will they also be able to survive the wandering groups of men, many of whom haven't seen a woman in over a year? You'll have to read this to find out.

 

I loved the main character in this novel. Yeah, she swore a lot, was bisexual and independent. (These are a few aspects other reviews have pointed out as being negative; I actually enjoyed them.) I liked how her previous work as a nurse and midwife helped her to try to save other women she came across in her travels. I also respected her intelligence-dressing as a man to disguise her gender and doing whatever else needed to be done.

 

I enjoyed the way the story was presented with one exception. This tale was introduced as being the main character's diary, and a woman is having some young boys transcribe it decades later. As such, this is mostly a first person narrative; except that in a few spots the tale slipped into a third person narrative and that did not quite make sense to me, as there was no way our heroine could know these things. (Though I was happy to learn the facts related during those portions, to be sure.) That is the only gripe I had with the book.

 

Post apocalyptic fiction doesn't capture my attention as much as it once did, but this book rose above the normal PA tale. I was engrossed and invested and I wanted our unnamed hero to win, though "winning" was hard to classify-other than just surviving.

 

I should also mention that the narrator was most excellent and managed to believably deliver a number of different characters and accents. Kudos to Angela Dawe!

 

To wrap up here, I highly recommend this book and/or the audiobook if that's your thing, most especially to fans of post apocalyptic fiction and strong female characters!

 

*I bought this book & the audiobook with my hard earned money and this is my honest opinion.*

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review 2018-01-27 00:10
Dark Retreat by Grace Hamilton
Dark Retreat (EMP Lodge Series Book 1) - Grace Hamilton

There was much I liked about this book. First, the world as we know it is no longer there with all it’s technology and governments and such. While everyone believes that a large powerful EMP is the reason, the details are left sketchy, which I found very believable in this new world of limited communications. While folks begin to explore and rely on herbal medicines, they also concede that they can’t cure everything and diagnosing without medical tests is very challenging. The stage is set well and now we just need a good plot and some interesting characters.

I liked Megan at first. She’s determined to find safety for her daughter and she stumbles upon a remote cabin. Pretty soon, she meets the family that lives there: Wyatt, his brother Chase, Chase’s wife Willow, the men’s mother Rosie, Willow’s young son, and also someone’s neighbor Albert. There’s also the guard dog, Duke. Each character brings some skill to the table and I was pleased that Megan was able to pull her weight from the beginning with her hunting and snaring skills.

Now I did get a little tired of Wyatt man-splaining so many things to Megan. Yes, he’s got skills she needs to learn and she’s a willing student, but after the first round or two, I really felt it was venturing into the ‘pat you on the head, you’re such a good student’ realm. We’re often shown, step-by-step, how Wyatt makes a water filter or a food dryer but when it comes Megan’s skills, we’re just told and it’s very brief. So I would have liked some balance there.

Meanwhile, the plot thickens as a shifty character enters the story: Kyle. He’s out for trouble and we know it from the start. Too bad these well meaning preppers want to think the best of everyone. I liked that Kyle brought so much tension and danger to the story. It’s not just about surviving the elements; it’s also about surviving other people.

Megan’s character does get a little whiny later on. She’s got big trust issues and those push her into making some silly and possibly deadly decisions. If I knew more about her background, this might have come off better but as it is, it felt mostly like drama for drama’s sake. Toss in the near insta-love and you have some cookie cutter plot mechanisms in play. Wyatt was falling for Megan by Day 2 and I felt, at that point, it was more about loneliness and perhaps lust than about love. It’s OK for characters to acknowledge that. Still, I was happy with how their friendship deepened towards the end of the book.

Setting aside my quibbles, I felt the pacing of the story was good. I was never bored and I liked that even as they solve one problem, or are planning for a future harsh winter or such, a new problem crops up. There’s also the varying personalities that everyone has to get along with. The setting/world building is what shined in this book for me. 4/5 stars.

The Narration: Andrew Tell did an excellent job with this narration. At first, I was a little concerned because our primary character is Megan and I wasn’t sure Tell could pull off a female voice for the majority of the book. He did just fine as Megan. In fact, all his female voices were feminine and each was distinct from the other. I did sometimes confuse Wyatt’s and Chase’s voices, but they are brothers and needed to sound similar. Tell makes a great grumpy Albert. 4.5/5 stars.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Grace Hamilton. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

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review 2018-01-07 12:59
The Book of Joan
The Book of Joan: A Novel - Lidia Yuknavitch

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.]

A tricky rating to give, for I did like some parts of this novel, but others just didn’t sit with me.

It made for intense read, for sure: for the catastrophe it depicts, the parallels it draws with our current world, the violence inflicted to characters (and especially women), the crude representation of a degenerated mankind, the desperate way the main characters live their lives. Christine and Trinculo, lovers in bodies that cannot experience physical pleasure anymore, united through skin grafts and art instead, as well as through their common support of Joan of Dirt, burnt for heresy. Leone, sexless and hardened warrior who never gives up. Nyx and their willingness to bring about destruction to help creation in turn.

One may or may not appreciate, also, the literary references. Jean de Men is most obviously a reference to Jean de Meung, and his perverted goals a direct echo of de Meung’s writings about women being deceitful and full of vice. In the same vein, Christine is Christine de Pisan, whose own writings attacked de Meung’s. Trinculo, both in name and behaviour, is the Shakespearian fool, whose apparently nonsensical language and insults are used to carry unconvenient truths. This goes further, since Christine is a feminist voice who lost her physical femininity, while Jean defiles bodies too close to his for comfort. As far as I’m concerned, those worked for me.

The writing itself, too, has beautiful moments, and weaves metaphors and descriptions in a way that gives the story a surreal aspect. Something larger than life, something that the characters try to reach for and clutch to, just like they clutch to their past sexualised humanity because they don’t really know what to do with their new bodies, much too fast devolved.

The science fiction side, though, didn’t work so well, and even though I was willing to suspend my disbelief, I couldn’t get over the evolutionary processes throughout the story. Joan’s power? Alright, why not. But human bodies degenerating to sexless, hairless, mutating in such a rapid way affecting everybody, not even on two or three generations but within one’s own lifetime? That’s just completely illogical. I see the intent, I understand it to an extent ( as it pitches this broken mankind with its broken bodies against the one being who brought destruction yet at the same time is the only one who can still bring about true creation), but it still won’t work for me from a scientific standpoint, which is something I still expect to see in a sci-fi/post-apocalyptic setting.

The writing deals with first person points of view that aren’t necessarily the same person’s from one chapter to the other, and it made the story confusing at times, until a hint or other made it clearer whose voice I was reading. At times, it made the narrative disjointed and the characters ‘remote’, which made it more difficult to really care for them.

Nevertheless, it was a compelling read that goes for the guts, violent despite—or because of?—its poetry.

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review 2017-12-31 09:02
High "Holy-Shit!" quotient
The Day of the Triffids - John Wyndham

That was awesome! I love it when pop-culture classics are really all that.

 

This one kept surprising me:

 

- Because I had NO IDEA what it was about (beyond some vague notion that there was an apocalyptic event, and some plants were involved)

 

- It changed lanes and directions non-stop (no getting too comfortable here, shit kept happening and fucking everything up)

 

- The dry, matter of fact and concise way some things were put, like

 

Oh, yeah, and one day those plants picked themselves up and went walking, whats it to you? Did I mention they are carnivore? Bah! People got over the novelty in a week or so

(spoiler show)

 

- And the sassy social commentary.

 

I was very much entertained, and could hardly stop reading, or muttering exclamations every chapter or so. Classic campy deliciousness. Loved it.

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review 2017-12-25 01:55
What thoughts do eggs have?
Everyone's a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too: A Book - Jomny Sun

Everyone's a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too by Jomny Sun was an odd little book.  The reader follows our main character who is an alien (or aliebn if you prefer) sent to earth to learn about humans but because he's never met one he assumes every living thing he sees is a human. Therefore, he becomes good friends with a tree, beaver, egg, etc. Reminiscent of Find the Good, this book is chock full of life lessons about what truly matters. Our little alien friend learns how to be content and happy, what loneliness is, how to be a good friend, the value of creativity, and most of all how to accept oneself. There's also an underlying message about doomsday and what the planet would be like without human habitation. Is this actually an apocalyptic tale cloaked behind a cute alien story?  I have to point out that the misspelling (as you see in the title) was highly annoying even after I managed to somewhat successfully ignore it and took away some enjoyment from the overall reading of the book. However, if you are able to look past that (and I was mostly successful) then it's a nice little read with great messages. This author isn't afraid to tackle tough subjects and I believe he does so with sensitivity and insight. This would make a great gift for that introspective friend (or a great addition to your own collection). I'd say it was a solid 7/10 because while it was a really nice book it didn't blow me out of the water. (The best graphic novel remains The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil by Stephen Collins.)

 

Source: Sweet

 

 

What's Up Next: Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew J. Sullivan

 

What I'm Currently Reading: it's 1 day til Christmas...do you think I'm reading?

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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