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review 2017-11-20 23:22
Broken Homes ★★★★☆
Broken Homes: A Rivers of London Novel - Ben Aaronovitch,Kobna Holdbrook-Smith

This installment in the Peter Grant series was so much fun and the plot twist at the end was so unexpected and exciting that I rushed right into the next book in the series, which wasn’t at all on my planned TBR list. And in my excitement, I originally put a 5 star rating on the book, but after further reflection am bringing it down to 4 stars, because there were a few problems with the story. It was a little discombobulated at first, with episodes so seemingly unconnected that I did have some trouble tying them all together at the end. I’m also, on reflection, a little unsure about The Faceless Man’s objective with the Skygarden Tower and its relation to the 

magic battery function

(spoiler show)

 that Peter has discovered. To be fair, it’s entirely possible that I missed some of this, because I was glued to the audio while also trying to run errands and finish shopping in anticipation of the Thanksgiving holiday demands this week – not the optimal kind of multitasking that lends itself well to catching clues and parsing complicated plot points. I suspect that, once I get caught up on the series on audio – because I have every intention of continuing to experience them through Kobna Holdbrook-Smith’s fabulous narration – I’ll probably pick up the text version and re-read them, to better immerse in the world-building and location details that can be missed on audio and a first read.

 

But I loved this book for all the same reasons that I’ve loved the others in the series – the interesting cast of characters, including some strong women of both good, evil, and in-between varieties, the strong sense of location, the fun magical world, and the humorous observations of both society and policing.

 

Audio, via Audible. As noted, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith’s performance is masterful.

 

I read this for The 16 Tasks of the Festive Season, Square 5: Book themes for Advent: Read a book with a wreath or with pines or fir trees on the cover –OR– Read the 4th book from a favorite series, or a book featuring 4 siblings. Broken Homes is the 4th book in the Peter Grant series. 

 

 

Previous Updates:

11/17/17 26%

The powers that be made a concerted effort to rid London of its working class. The city was rapidly losing its industry, and the large numbers of servants who were needed for the Edwardian households were being superseded by the technological wonders of the Age of White Goods. London just didn't need that many poor people anymore.

 

11/18/17 100%

On the audio side, I had to DNF My Brilliant Friend on Thursday because it was booooorrrrrinnnngggg and then I decided on Broken Homes for the Advent square and OH MY GOD that plot twist at the end made me spend another Audible credit so I could jump right into Foxglove Summer.

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review 2017-11-14 19:26
Winter Solstice ★★★★☆
Winter Solstice (Audio) - Rosamunde Pilcher,Carole Shelley

I was a little impatient with this slow-moving story at first, but in the end was glad that I stayed with it. It’s a warm, comfortable story of people who are adrift at the end of a relationship, who find one another and begin anew. It’s not a Romance, but it is a story of love in its many forms. It was a little like a book form of those sweet, staid BBC and PBS shows that seem to mostly feature nice people sitting and talking, or walking and talking, with just enough offscreen drama to keep it interesting. I can see why so many people enjoy this story as an annual holiday comfort read.

 

Audiobook, via Audible. Lynn Redgrave provides an okay performance – it’s possible that this book needed someone a little more lively to spark it up.

 

I read this for The 16 Tasks of the Festive Season, and I will be using it as the Holiday Book Joker for Square 9 December 21st: Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere, also known as Yaldā Night in Iran. The same day is the summer solstice in the southern hemisphere, giving them the longest day of the year.  This book takes place during the weeks leading up to the Christmas holiday, but the key turning point takes place on the evening of the winter solstice.

 

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text 2017-11-14 18:41
I Am Malala - 5/327pg
I Am Malala - Malala Yousafzai

We went to school six mornings a week, and as I was a fifteen-year-old in Year 9, my classes were spent chanting chemical equations or studying Urdu grammar, writing stories in English with morals like "haste makes waste" or drawing diagrams of blood circulation - most of my classmates wanted to be doctors. It's hard to imagine that anyone would see that as a threat.

 

 

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text 2017-11-14 16:33
Sq10 World Peace Day / Sq14 Quaid-e-Azam
I Am Malala - Malala Yousafzai

I'm getting started with I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, which can fit both Square 10: World Peace Day (Malala Yousafzai was a co-recipient for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014) and Square 14 Quaid-e-Azam (she is Pakistani and much of the book is about and takes place in Pakistan) for The 16 Tasks of the Festive Season. I haven't decided yet which square I'll use it for, since I don't have any alternatives for either yet. I don't have any books about any other Nobel Peace Prize winners, and my library has some unappealing options, mostly children's books. 

 

 

Square 10: December 21st: World Peace Day is the day the United Nations General Assembly has declared as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. Book themes for World Peace Day: Read a book by or about a Nobel Peace Prize winner, or about a protagonist (fictional or nonfictional) who has a reputation as a peacemaker.

 

Square 10: December 25th: Quaid-e-Azam(‘Great Leader’) Day is the Pakistan holiday celebrating their founder’s -Muhammad Ali Jinnah - birthday. 

Book themes for Quaid-e-Azam:  Pakistan became an independent nation when the British Raj ended on August 14, 1947. Read a book set in Pakistan or in any other country that attained sovereign statehood between August 14, 1947 and today (regardless in what part of the world).

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review 2017-11-12 14:14
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian ★★★☆☆
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Sherman Alexie,Ellen Forney

I had heard so much about this book that I’ve really been looking forward to reading it. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t connect with it. I understand that it’s semi-autobiographical, so it must be an accurate portrayal of a 14-year-old boy’s thoughts and concerns. And teenage boys are a little bit gross. So maybe that’s why I was a bit put off by it – the MC’s relationships with and reactions to the female characters are definitely off-putting, no matter how realistic, and the humor, while perhaps accurate to the 14-year-old protagonist, is also juvenile. But the story itself is both funny and sad, that of a boy living on the “rez” and dealing with the fallout of asking to transfer to a town school where he will be the only non-white student. The book doesn’t pull punches in portraying alcoholism, violence, bullying, tribalism, and racism. It’s a lot to pack into a relatively short book. But the ending contains a redeeming message of hope, too, which helps to rescue a story that threatens to sink under the weight of these heavy themes.

 

Hardcover version. I read this book for The 16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Square 11: December 21st-22nd. Soyal (December 21st) is the winter solstice ceremony of the Zuni and the Hopi (Hopitu Shinumu), The Peaceful Ones, also known as the Hopi Indians. It is held on the shortest day of the year to ceremonially bring the sun back from its long winter slumber. Book themes for Soyal: Read a book set in the American Southwest / the Four Corners States (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah), –OR– a book that has a Native American protagonist. This book fits the square, as the main character is Native American.

 

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