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review 2018-03-18 17:35
The Summer Book - Tove Jansson,Esther Freud,Thomas Teal

March 2018 Reader’s Group Read.

Rhianna Pratchett recently penned a piece for the Guardian about what the Moomins meant to both her and her father, Terry Pratchett. The Moomins are truly magical and wonderous. Jansson’s Moomin books are also about acceptance and love; it is not really funny in the book that one character wears a dress his aunt once wore.
But Jansson’s other work is as powerful as the Moomins. 
The Summer Book doesn’t really have a plot. In some ways, it is a collection of loosely connected short stories about a young girl and her grandmother as they spend time on a summer island. Sophia’s mother has died, Jansson never mentions what exactly happened, and her father is present but more as a hovering figure.
Sophia and her grandmother wander the island, and there are wonderful descriptions about the forest and the water. There is a visit from of Sophia’s, a young girl with wonderful hair. Sophia comes across as a rather interesting child. The book examines the rhythms of life and the conflicts that can occur. It’s a lovely little tale

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review 2018-03-12 02:58
ARC Review: Orange by B.G. Thomas
Orange - B.G. Thomas
I'm going to first talk about the book, the story, the two MCs, and the writing. The author's typical writing style is within the pages, and its familiarity (I have read almost all of this author's books) was soothing. I also liked the plot of two very different people meeting and finding each other, finding what they needed from each other, forging a path together that will surely lead them to their happy ever after. and experiencing personal growth. Both Frank and Roy are flawed and complex, both keep others at arm's length - Frank because of what he was taught by his father Glen (more on him soon), and Roy because of shame and fear. Because he was in jail, and because he's only recently figured out that he might be gay. 

I liked Harry and Cody, and Roy's grandmother as supporting characters, who all brought something the the table, and in some instances served as catalysts to further the plot. While we don't find out a lot about Harry and Cody in this book, there are some revelations about Roy's granny that really moved the plot forward. 

I loved how the romance unfolded, how Frank was blindsided by his feelings for Roy, how he tried to deny them, and how he failed. I loved how Roy began questioning his sexuality, and how his reflections of his actions in the past helped him get a clearer picture and overcome his fear. Obviously, there's angst in this book, as the two men approach the budding relationship from two very different angles, and neither is certain early on that a pursuit of the relationship is advisable or desirable. There are missteps, there is fear, there is shame, and there is anger. But ultimately, this book is about two very different men falling and being in love, perhaps for the very first time in their lives. Their path to real love was a bit rough and had a few sharp turns, but they stayed the course.

And now, let's talk about Glen, Frank's father. Massive mother bear rant ahead. You'll want to skip to the end if that sort of thing bothers you. Since it's also slighly spoilerish, there be some tags around some of it. 

Glen made me ragey. Here we have a man who decided to do a huge fuck-you to his ex-wife, the mother of his child, and basically city-hopped with their son from age 5 until Frank had enough of the nomadic lifestyle and forged his own path in KC. Sure, Frank's life with Glen wasn't entirely horrible, and he sure got to see some awesome places, but Glen's endless womanizing and the constant moving, really screwed with Frank's sense of self, knowing his place in the world, and his views on love and finding a life partner. I was already pissed at Glen fairly early on, when I found out about the constant moving and introducing woman after woman into the life of his impressionable son and seeming to be PROUD of that shit, but when the real truth comes out
and Frank's mother contacts him, tearfully confessing that she's been looking for him for 20 years, and that Glen kept eluding her, and then hearing from Glen that one particular woman he was romancing, with whom Frank had developed a strong relationship, was dropped because she was pregnant and subsequently had an abortion, pretty much as Glen's behest
(spoiler show)
  - well, that took the fucking cake. My status update at that point, around 60% or so (I wasn't keeping track, really, because I was so ANGRY) was fueled by RAGE and TEARS. Fuck you, Glen. You narcissistic, sociopathic, selfish asshole. 

So. There you have it. Any book that can bring out such strong emotions - it certainly deserves to have its rating rounded up. I also want to make clear that while I wanted to punch Glen on more than one occasion (and I'm not a violent person at all), I also very much appreciated how the author chose to finalize things for this character's involvement in Frank's life. Justice in this case was very sweet indeed.

As always, the author's writing style is distinctive, which may not work for everyone, but it certainly works for me. 

I don't usually comment on covers. I'm not enamored with this one, but please don't let that turn you off giving this book a chance. What's behind the cover is worth your time.

** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. **


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review 2018-03-11 19:07
What Remains True by Janis Thomas
What Remains True: A Novel - Janis Thomas
Wow. Book was way too sad for me. Each member expresses their grief
at the loss of 5 year old Jonah,but the dogs point of view was
kind of way to "out there" for me. But the subject matter was
handled well and with sensitively the author and it was very well
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review 2018-03-04 15:35
Scary House by Sean Thomas Fisher
Scary House - Sean Thomas Fisher

SCARY HOUSE featured genuinely scary scenes that I enjoyed!


There's nothing like a good haunted house tale to get my heart pumping. Combine that with a coming of age story and I should have a real winner on my hands. In this case, I did enjoy the story, it's just that I never felt quite connected to the characters.


Gavin and his friends are getting ready for Halloween and want to check out a somewhat nearby haunted house. Gavin had his new Polaroid, (this is the early 90's), and used it to take instant photos around the home. The house has a history, so when they find an old photo album still there, they flip through to find out more. It's when they come across a picture of their bikes, parked outside that they start to get the creeps. From there, as you may have guessed, things go downhill. What happens then? You'll have to read SCARY HOUSE to find out!


There's a lot of early 90's nostalgia, a Jurassic Park watch is repeatedly mentioned as are some other heavy metal and rock bands, such as Nirvana. (Which is funny to me, because the author used to be a DJ at my local rock radio station and it played a lot of music from that era.)


This book was fun and did have a cool premise. Unfortunately, I couldn't help feeling it was somewhat derivative of King's IT. (It must be hard to avoid that comparison, when it's a nostalgic coming of age story which also involves a group of kids coming back to town as adults.) The other issue I had was that I didn't care that much for the characters. For me, that fact took a lot of tension out of the final scenes.


Overall, I did have fun with this story and would try more from Sean Thomas Fisher in the future, it's just that SCARY HOUSE didn't turn out to be that scary for me. Your mileage may vary!


*I received a free Kindle copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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text 2018-03-04 09:24
Fevered with Love's Anxiety: "Phantom Thread" by Paul Thomas Anderson


This movie made think on one of Saint John of the Cross' poems.


At 3am the dragon set forth along the Caparica beach and stared out over the water, lit only with the full moon:


In an obscure night, Fevered with love's anxiety (O hapless, happy plight!), I went, none seeing me, Forth from my cave, where all things quiet be,” said the dragon, to no one in particular. But someone was there, creeping around in the shadows. Arthur, Arthur Scargill the vampire, twiddling his strangely long thumbs.


'Zombies! Zombies everywhere!' Cried the Dragon. 'Quick!' Said Arthur, 'Get in my futuristic looking Ford Sierra. Don't mind Stig he does that.' 'What's that thudding sound?' Said the dragon, 'Don't mind them. That's me killer robots.' Said Arthur as they crashed through some barriers and narrowly missed going over a cliff. 'What am I sitting on?' Said the dragon gloomily. 'That's just big bird.' Said Arthur.


Vampire Arthur Scargill wasn't in the mood for a moody Dragon, and had come to look up to the Beast, through the sunroof, as a source of inspiration. "You just turn that frown upside down, Laddie."


He stopped the car and told the Grumpy Dragon to look behind them; nothing but chaos, dust, and a shed on a tow-rope.

'Go and look in't shed, eh? I've got Mr. Sheen in there.' The Gloomy Dragon flapped his great wings, and whooooosh was half-way out of the sunroof in a second. 



If you're into stuff like this, read on.

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