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review 2018-07-16 12:54
Mud City (The Breadwinner, #3) by Deborah Ellis
Mud City - Deborah Ellis

After reading Parvana's Journey, I decided to hop right into Mud City to see what will happen next to Parvana and her family. However, once I started to read it, I quickly discovered that this book followed her friend Shauzia, not Parvana. That's didn't deter me from reading the book, of course, because I loved Shauzia in the first book and was looking forward to her journey since last we heard from her. I just had to change my expectations of what the book was going to be about. And is was such a fantastic read! Reading these books have been a wonderful experience. I'm enjoying it tremendously. They have been heartbreaking, especially this installment for very personal reasons which I will explain momentarily. But these book have been a valuable experience throughout.

 

I'm going to start off by talking about Shauzia. This is the first time we get the story through her perspective. In The Breadwinner, we see her through Parvana's eyes. We learn that she wants to escape her life in Afghanistan by going to the sea and traveling to France. At the end of the first book, we learn that Parvana and Shauzia make a promise to meet in twenty years on top of the Eiffel Tower to know that they were able to make it out safely. In Parvana's Journey, the only mention of Shauzia we get is through the letters Parvana writes to her. We don't actually see her. So this is the first time we get to learn more about her. She is a lot more hot-headed than Parvana is. She is someone who fights hard for what she wants, not paying any mind to the consequences. Shauzia is more of a loner and a fighter than Parvana, and I wouldn't have her any other way. She makes some foolish mistakes, but she comes out the better for making them and I'm now looking forward to learning more about her and Parvana in the last book in the series! 

 

Deborah Ellis continues to write about difficult subject matters in an approachable way so that anyone, children and adults alike, can understand and empathize about the wars happening in Afghanistan. I am learning so much about what happened in Afghanistan in the past for it to be the way it is now. Although, I remember some of what happened through personal experience. I lived across the Hudson when the World Trade Center Towers were destroyed. I saw them crumble down. I saw the sky covered in the thick, black smoke. I saw people running around, trying to get their families together. I heard yelling and crying and screaming coming every which way. I was stuck in traffic for five hours in a ride that should have taken ten minutes. All of that is still fresh in my mind. So reading about that in this book, it was so hard for me... but I'm glad to see that this book didn't shy away from mentioning that terrible event. I'm glad it's being talked about and written about and taught to younger kids. That this book shows that there's good and bad everywhere. That even though what happened in New York that day still haunts and hurts a lot of us here in the States, that there are people in Afghanistan who are hurt by those same events and that they, too, want the violence and suffering to stop. Just knowing that this book is out there for kids to read and learn that not everyone is cruel gives me hope.

 

I'm going to stop now. Reading Mud City and then writing this review has made me emotional, I know, but I had to get this out. This is an amazing book. An amazing series! Please, if you have not read the first two, give them a shot. If you have, read this one, too! It's just as good as the first two. Read it to your kids, if you have any, or just read it for yourself. They are such great books and I highly recommend them.

 

And now I'm off to read the final book in The Breadwinner series. I'm a bit worried to see how everything is going to end, but there's no way I'm going to stop now. I want to know the ending and I can't wait to read My Name is Parvana.

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review 2018-07-10 20:25
Kansas City Cop - Julie Miller Kansas City Cop - Julie Miller

Honestly, I don't remember Mike from whatever book was his dad's. I *think* his stepmom is in forensics but it's been years and a number of installments in this series since then...and that's assuming I guessed the right person.

 

So Gina is in line for a promotion to S.W.A.T...as is her partner. She wants to be the best of the best (overachiever). Her partner OTOH, is content to be accepted. She gets shot near the beginning of the book, and Mike (H) is her therapist. Actually, he's last resort as she'd refused to listen to the last two. He gets to spend the next several weeks keeping her out of trouble as she tries to figure out who shot her...and several other contenders.

As it turns out, her partner's dad was attempting to stack the deck in his son's favor by eliminating the competition - one minority at a time. The son figured it out at some point, but did nothing to dissuade dear old dad. Further, he more or less left her twisting in the wind after a run-in with the ex of a woman he'd been sniffing around (ex was abusive)

 

High-lights - no story arc to drag through half a dozen books (thank you Jesus)
Book was essentially a stand-alone. You'd have to go digging through the series to even find some of the characters (I sort of remember several mentioned on the S.W.A.T team but that was several years and a couple of story arcs ago)

 

Low-light - it being so long before revisiting the group there meant you almost felt lost at times. Fortunately I guess, you don't hang around any of the previously used characters too long - well, other than dear old dad. Still...

 

Heroine's attitude got old after a while. There's prickly and there's being a bitch. She strayed entirely too closely to the latter at times.

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text 2018-07-05 15:23
TBR Thursday
Berlin Game - Len Deighton
Jade City - Fonda Lee
Even - Andrew Grant
Bog Child - Siobhan Dowd
N or M? - Agatha Christie
A Poisoned Season - Tasha Alexander

The Summer of Spies continues, with Berlin Game, Even and N or M?  I get double points for Even, as it is a spy novel and its author, Andrew Grant, will be attending When Words Collide in August.

 

Plus two more books towards the When Words Collide conference:  Jade City and A Poisoned Season.  Both authors, Fonda Lee and Tasha Alexander, will be in attendance.  Tasha Alexander is one of the replacements for Deanna Raybourn (along with her husband, Andrew Grant, above).

 

And I've got only 1 renewal left for Bog Child, so I better just read it and return it to the library!

 

I've made great progress on the stack of books from the library--I'm down to one teetering stack rather than two!  My boyfriend is currently getting ready to move and is paring down his books, so he's been making some comments about the stacks around my house, cheeky bugger!  I've been having great luck at the used book store lately and I'm running out of shelves, but eventually those books will return to said store.  Having said that, a reorganization may be in order this weekend. 

 

Good reading, friends!

 

 

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text 2018-07-02 06:48
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review 2018-07-01 23:01
The City & The City - Why is Miéville ignored by some literary circles?
The City & the City - China Miéville

This book... oh dear. It's quite good and it's very hard to explain. What starts off seeming like a noir-ish crime novel or police procedural opens up and allows the reader to sort of play with what's happening in the reality of the story. Two city-states, somewhere in Europe, live within each other. Citizens from one are not allowed to "see" the citizens from the other - even if they're on the same street! It's not like Berlin used to be. There's no wall, just a map and laws and a history of strife between the two cities.

 

So is it fantasy, or is it a meditation on our current cities, where we go around "unseeing" all sorts of things? Miéville leaves this question wide open for the reader. I started to think about all of the ways we divide ourselves in our cities and how the entire novel could be a metaphor for things like race, class, religion, politics, you name it. Everywhere in real life, there are places some people go and places other people don't. There are things we see - even celebrate - and other things we pretend not to see, and put out of mind almost automatically. We're very good at dividing ourselves up in so many ways. Citizens in one city know not to tread on "the other city." 

 

The book takes us into a mystery about the cities themselves, all while continuing along the crime narrative. It's sort of brilliant, and very different from any other book I've read before. It's fantastical, but it could be quite realistic. I have to wonder, once again, why some authors (Miéville, Neil Gaiman, even Stephen King) are not even considered in these lists of "important" books. King appears sometimes, but far too often I think these writers tend  to be shunted off into "genre writing" and hence considered simply not worthy of being noted by certain publications and literary circles. I'd love someone to tell me why this book is somehow less inventive/important than Thomas Hardy's 8th or 10th book? (Not just Hardy - I'm thinking now of those lists of books that have changed or disrupted the novel's form or literary prizes that always seem to go to the same people or if they go to a newcomer, we're told it's because the book is somehow inventive. I've read the most recent Pulitzer. I liked it, but it wasn't more inventive than this one.) When I read a book like this one, all I see is invention and imagination and certainly breaking the usual laws of novels.

 

I've tried to read The City & The City before and was distracted by work and life. I'm thrilled I finally found the right time for me and this book because it is fantastic - in every sense of the word.

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