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review 2017-05-21 13:55
About lesson books
The Phantom Tollbooth - Jules Feiffer,Norton Juster

I ended up liking it. It took two tries, but I did. I actually enjoyed the cleverness of it the first time around too. I just got bored. I think It was because it is didactic.

As a child, I used to despise books that used stories only to carry a message or lesson (I hated morality fables with a passion), and even today I mistrust them. I'm not saying a story can't carry meaning, but I don't like it when it's crammed down my throat. The manifesto the author didn't dare to write straight, and hid inside his book, distracts me from the story I'm trying to read.

To compare:

In a Handmaid's Tale, the story shows the horror. It tells you nothing about what you ought to think, but boy, do you end up filled with thoughts.

What I found in this book is an adventure constructed around a message. It was, like I said before, cleverly done, and the winks and nudges where plentiful, mostly fun, take-that types, some a bit disturbing. The magic padding is pretty good, but the scaffolding structure is evident and makes it an uncomfortable read for me because it pulls me out of my suspension of disbelief to consider this bit of insight the author is eager to foster on me.

 

Closer compare: Two of Michael Ende's: "Momo", and "Neverending Story". Both are built around a message too, but they succeed (the second more than the first) because you can pretty much disregard all the deeper stuff if you just wish to gobble up the tale. Neverending is one of my all time favorites, and book I've re-read over half a dozen times through my life, always finding new things, and that my favorite chapter changed as I grew too.

 

So, maybe a kid would like this book, but not a kid as I was.

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review 2017-05-16 01:22
I loved this book hard core and...
Shelter the Sea - Heidi Cullinan

so did my husband and he didn't even read it...not really. But I was so taken with this story that I did something I don't often do, I rambled perpetually about it to him and because he's patient and loves me, he sat and listened.

 

'Shelter the Sea' is Heidi Cullinan's follow up story to 'Carry the Ocean' and like 'Carry the Ocean' it's a story that is touching and burrows its way into your heart but it's also a story with such an important message...a message that is both current and relevant to our times. It's through Emmet and Jeremy's eyes that we get to see what it means to live in a world that's geared towards people who are on 'the mean' while bypassing the percentage of society out there whose needs are different but whose right to have the same quality of life as those who are on 'the mean' is real and not only to be met but safeguarded from those who would deprive them of what many consider basic human rights. 

 

Emmet, Jeremy and their friends set out to protect the lives they've made for themselves at the Roosevelt, but not just their lives also the lives of their friends and so many other people with special needs. As their home state restructures its health care system into something that will make it even harder for people with special needs to receive the care and assistance that would enable them to have the quality of life that everyone is entitled to and many simply take for granted.

 

'Shelter the Sea' isn't a story that messes with the HEA that Emmet and Jeremy were so firmly headed towards in 'Carry the Ocean'. It's a chance to see Emmet and Jeremy as they grow as a couple fitting their lives firmly into each others. Loving and supporting each other both in their good moments and their bad. Like any other couple keeping their happily ever after is something that they need to work at on a day to day basis and the love and support that these two give to each other is so sweet and a lesson for all of us because anything worth having is worth working for and while it's such a simple concept Emmet and Jeremy get it in a way that truthfully eludes many of us who live on 'the mean'.

 

For me the romance between Emmet and Jeremy is so beautifully portrayed it's sweet and solid and for both of these men it's the foundation from which they draw their strength and support. It's built on friendship, love, faith and respect for and in each other.

 

This is a beautiful love story about two men willing to take on the world to protect all that they have and hold dear not just their relationship but their friends, their rights and the rights of others who they don't even know but, whom they know need someone to be a voice for them in world that often cares too little and sometimes not at all.

 

'Shelter the Sea' is a story that needed to be told and more importantly needs to be read and embraced by all and Heidi Cullinan has shown us with the beauty of her words that she was the person who needed to tell it. Thank you Ms. Cullinan from the bottom of my heart for bringing Emmet, Jeremy and all their friends into our lives.

 

********************

A copy of 'Shelter the Sea' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-05-15 18:03
Knots not worth untangling
The Lace Reader - Brunonia Barry

Copy obtained through local public library.  I don't know the author nor have I ever had any communication with her about this book or any other matter.

 

I began reading the book a couple of weeks ago, but only got a few pages into it before being interrupted.  I set it aside, then went back and started over when I was sure I would have more time.  By page 103 of 385, I knew the struggle wasn't going to be worth it.  I always think it's my fault that a book isn't working, so I checked out some of the other reviews -- I almost never read reviews before I read the book -- and found I wasn't alone.

 

No spoilers here, because I didn't finish the book and I'm not likely to.

 

Towner Whitney, whose real name is Sophya, comes back to Salem, Massachusetts, after 15 years in California.  Her grandmother/great-aunt Eva has disappeared.  I think Towner was raised by Eva, but I'm not sure.  Towner admits she lies a lot, and also that she doesn't remember things well because she had a nervous breakdown after her sister Lyndley died.

 

I think Towner's mother is May, who lives on a little island and rescues abused women and their children, but the family relationships aren't really clear.  Auntie Emma is Eva's daughter, I think, but again I'm not sure.  Beezer is Towner's brother.

 

Quirky characters are great if you can keep them straight and each becomes a real person.  None of these people did, not even Towner.  Her quirks were too inconsistent, too unexplained.  She can read people's minds and she hears voices -- especially Eva's and Lyndley's -- and she can read lace (it's kind of like reading tea leaves or some such) but there doesn't seem to be any purpose to it.

 

Towner dwells on her mental illness but doesn't really seem to care very much about it.  She doesn't have any direction or motivation or even any emotion.  And yet I got the impression that she wanted people around her to care about her.  I'm not sure that that's the impression author Brunonia Barry intended to convey, but it's the one I got.

 

As a result, I just didn't like Towner, and it's difficult for me to continue to read a book when I don't give a shit about the main character.

 

The book is well written in the technical sense, and I'm assuming the details of Salem and its environs are accurate, but everything fell flat for me.  It's like a book that a bunch of ladies read for their Tuesday afternoon book club, and they all think it's wonderful and deep and literary and quirky, but they really don't understand it and aren't sure they even like it.  They read it to impress their friends.  The sexy parts embarrass them -- though to be honest, I hadn't encountered any really sexy parts in the first 103 pages -- or horrify them, but for the most part they really don't understand the sexy parts.  They read books like this because it makes them feel somehow superior, even though as soon as they reach the end and move on to the next book, this one is forgotten.

 

I'll probably forget it, too.

 

Also posted at

https://fearlesslyintelligent.blogspot.com/2017/05/the-lace-reader-by-brunonia-barry.html

and I may expand it there.

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review 2017-05-08 18:45
Start with a little murder, add some mayhem & mystery and stir in some heat...
Risky Behavior - Cari Z.,L.A. Witt

it'll all make for some 'Risky Behavior and one hella' good read.

 

Andreas is a cop, a police detective...he just doesn't always play by the rules because sometimes the rules just get in the way of a good man doing his job. Andreas also works alone, he can't afford to trust a partner. Unfortunately we don't always get to decide those things. When Andreas boss decides he needs a partner someone to watch his back. Andreas is determined to see how quick he can get rid of him.

 

Darren's work hard to get his detective's shield and he's determined to do his job and do it well and if that means getting along with a partner who's got a rep and not a good one...well than that was just what would need to happen.

 

The plot for this story had so many smaller pieces scattered throughout but each piece came together to connect the bigger story. I loved reading this and gathering each of those pieces and putting them together to form the larger picture, just like a jigsaw puzzle.

 

While the romance is more of a secondary factor in this story that doesn't mean it's not hot and important...really, really hot and a strong part of the overall story.

 

'Risky Behavior' is a police procedural story with a strong romance unfolding in the background and this story was beyond awesome for me. I love mysteries/procedurals they're like the best kind of candy all tasty and yummy and good to the very last bite add in some well done romance and things become deliciously good...good enough to make me want more.

 

********************

An ARC of "Risky Behavior" was graciously provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-05-05 03:01
DOLLS by Matt Shaw
Dolls - Matt Shaw

Synopsis:

“He understood why she did it. She had lost her own baby – one conceived by the unwanted advances of a sexual predator – and hated thinking of them out there in the cemetery, alone and cold. She had to bring them into the warm. She had to give them the life they’d otherwise never live. It was her mission. But with each new doll brought home, her yearning for a living child of her own continued to grow. Yes, he knew why she did it but – even so – he wasn’t able to stand by her and he knew she was going to get a lot worse before she got better. But how do you help someone who doesn’t want to be helped? And how do you turn your back on your own sister?”

 

IDK what stopped me from reading this title earlier, (published 02.02.16), but I’m happy that I finally did! DOLLS feels like one of Matt Shaw‘s older titles – it’s not a black cover, not an extreme extreme horror, and the core story totally sucked me in. I was 100% invested right from Jump Street. Now, as embarrassing as this might be, I gotta tell ya… I didn’t see the ‘oh holy shit’ moment until about 5 words before it was revealed to us! I love that Matt can still do that after all these years, and all these books.


☆☆☆☆☆ /☆☆☆☆☆
Another 5 Stars For THE Matt Shaw


Stop by BBB to see the full review, join the DOLLS book discussion, AND take the Polldaddy Poll re: your favorite Matt Shaw sub-genre at the end of the review!

 

 

 

DOLLS on Amazon
Matt Shaw‘s Amazon Author Page
DOLLS on Goodreads
Matt Shaw on Goodreads
The Sick B*stards Society
Matt Shaw‘s Official Webpage
Matt Shaw on Facebook
@The_Matt_Shaw on Twitter

DOLLS Review/Discussion on BBB

Source: beckisbookblog.wordpress.com/2017/05/04/dolls-by-matt-shaw
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