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text 2017-01-07 04:42
January Haul!
The Land of 10,000 Madonnas - Kate Hattemer
Tell Me Three Things - Julie Buxbaum
Specials - Scott Westerfeld
Hush, Hush - Becca Fitzpatrick
City of Glass - Cassandra Clare

Have you guys read any of these?

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review 2016-11-07 19:40
Looks like another cozy mystery series not for me.
Aunty Lee's Deadly Specials: A Novel - Ovidia Yu

Decided to give this series another shot to see that if maybe it might pick up. The concept seems fun (set in Singapore, which I don't know a whole lot about) and the cover is gorgeous. But it just seems like it's more hunting (or perhaps accepting this isn't a genre that works for me).


Aunty Lee is hosting a brunch for Henry and Mabel Sung. In itself this is no big deal...except the gossip that the Sungs fortunes are no longer what they were. Then Mabel and the Sung son Leonard are found dead. Lee's stewed chicken is to blame but Lee is certain that there's something much more nefarious involved--and it involves organ donations.


The writing just isn't very good. There's no way around it. The characters are one-dimensional. The story just plod along. The mystery is fairly boring. On the upside there's information about Singapore and its people, culture, food, etc., but that's not enough to really keep my attention.


Looks like this series is not for me, which is too bad. As the second in her series (thus far) I thought it would be an improvement over the first book. Nope. Borrow from the library if you're curious.

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review 2016-09-12 01:58
The 10 Least Successful Holiday Specials of All Time - John Scalzi
The 10 Least Successful Holiday Specials of All Time - John Scalzi

Available online at

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review 2015-08-06 19:42
Specials - Scott Westerfeld

I have such mixed emotions about this book. It was originally supposed to be the final book in a trilogy, although there is now a fourth book in which Tally appears as a non-central character. So, even though this ended up not being the final book, it is really the final book in which Tally is forefront. Because of that, the ending felt a little unfinished for what was in essence the end of her story. But then again, those imperfect endings are a reality of life.


Tally was also a lot less likeable in this book. This is not because of a lack of character development, but rather the fact that her character has undergone some extreme changes within her story arc. Her character has changed so much across the course of the three books to date. In the first, she was an Ugly, full of humanity as we know it. In Pretties, she was changed into a Pretty and her personality changed with it. Even when things changed for her, her personality was never really as it had once been. And now, as a Special, she is nothing as she once was. Her humanity is almost entirely gone, more cyborg than human.


The plot was extremely action-packed and there were some fantastic twists and turns throughout the story. Like the other books, there was romance, but it wasn't the central focus of the plot. That is something that I generally appreciate, although even I hoped for a little more. But I suppose romance is difficult when one has virtually no humanity.


The one thing that drove me insane for most of the novels was some of the vernacular. Emotion words are changed a bit and the style was fairly annoying at first, until I realized the reasons for that linguistic twist. Emotions are expressed as "bubbly" or "happy-making" or "fear-making." Even among the Pretties, emotions are less inherent and more manufactured. There is a distance between the Pretties and truly feeling emotion and the language really supports that.


Despite my misgivings about the ending, it is still an engaging read. One of the things I love most about these novels is that the author doesn 't neatly tie everything up into happily ever afters. There might be happiness or resolutions, but they aren't complete. There is still failure, destruction, death, disappointment, and loss. Life never has a perfectly happy ending and the author isn't afraid of showing that. Bittersweet emotions are a fact of life.


My Recommendation


I love this series! I love that these books make you think about your own values and beliefs, about the world we live in. Such a great thing! I gave it 4.5 mugs!

Source: thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=11266
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