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review 2017-02-14 04:47
Voyager
Voyager - Davina Porter,Diana Gabaldon

Oh, Voyager. You get so many things right, but that one little thing...

 

I've said numerous times over this "reread" while I've listened to the audiobooks for the first time that one of the things Gabaldon does best is write fully realized characters, even third-tier characters, and she certainly continues to do that here. Her attention to detail, her descriptions, the way she lets the characters pop out of the page give them all life. It's really amazing.

 

And then there's Mr. Willoughby, or make that Yi Tien Cho, a Chinese refugee stowaway who landed in Scotland and was taken in by Jamie. First, I need to acknowledge that none of these characters are perfect. Even Claire, who comes from the more contemporary 1940s-1960s, has her prejudices and she doesn't even come close to how close-minded and insular everyone else is once we get back to the 1700s. So Cho's pure hatred of the white men isn't what bothers me. No, it's that he's a walking stereotype of all the worst things you can imagine about the Chinese. Even when I was reading this for the first time in my relatively clueless late-teens, Cho made me uncomfortable. Now, I was gritting my teeth nearly every time he was on the page. It was grating. There was not one redeeming trait to him, and to make it worse, he's the only Chinese character in either of these series - in fact, the only Asian character, which makes his representation even more troubling. So I'm glad he's only in this book and none of the others. And all because Gabaldon needed a way for Jamie, with his severe seasickness, to survive the crossing of the Atlantic. Because all Chinese know acupuncture, don't you know. *sigh*

 

But onto the good things, mostly John Grey. <3 I decided to experiment with this listen and do something I've been planning to do for years, and that's read Voyager and the Lord John Grey books in chronological order. While I don't think I'll ever do that again, it was still a fun way to experience the stories and get in John's adventures alongside Claire's and Jamie's. I just love John and I hope Gabaldon plans to write more of his adventures, especially since I'm not planning to read any more Outlander books. Voyager will even be the last one that I reread since I didn't really enjoy the others that came after this.

Though I may just have to reread William falling into the privy in the next book some day. That scene is golden. Willie is just a prat and totally deserving of that fate. :D

(spoiler show)

The cast for those have just gotten too huge, the focus has moved away too much from Claire and Jamie, and they just refuse to end. Plus, all the rape. What is Gabaldon's obsession with rape? And while there's no on-page in this book for a change, we still have to hear about

poor Young Ian's recount of his rape by Gellie Duncan.

(spoiler show)

 

Other good things: the reunion between Claire and Jamie was great, and getting to see the Murrays again, even if just briefly, was fun. Fergus is all grown up and not yet a lazy drunk. Spending so much time on the Atlantic crossing could've been dull as hell, but Gabaldon keeps the tension up wonderfully with several adventures - though I do have to say this is the point where all these characters randomly running into each other gets a bit eye roll inducing. It's one thing when they're all confined to Great Britain because that's a tiny little island (sorry, my British friends, but it is), but when they're shipwrecking onto random islands and whatnot, I think it's okay to have them run into people they don't know in any capacity. 

 

And I do have to say, I prefer my Loa to come in the form of a hamburger-shaped drive-thru speaker than I do a creepy possessed mentally unstable white woman. Because problematic ableist tropes aside, who doesn't want their drive-thru speaker to also give them cryptic messages about the future?

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quote 2017-02-10 11:43
Reading is as close as we will get to time traveling.
Source: bibliophileanon.tumblr.com/post/157040662512/reading-is-as-close-as-we-will-get-to-time
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review 2017-02-08 14:20
All Our Wrong Todays/Elan Mastrai
All Our Wrong Todays: A Novel - Elan Mastai

THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS THE LIFE YOU’RE “SUPPOSED” TO HAVE

You know the future that people in the 1950s imagined we’d have? Well, it happened. In Tom Barren’s 2016, humanity thrives in a techno-utopian paradise of flying cars, moving sidewalks, and moon bases, where avocados never go bad and punk rock never existed . . . because it wasn’t necessary.

Except Tom just can’t seem to find his place in this dazzling, idealistic world, and that’s before his life gets turned upside down. Utterly blindsided by an accident of fate, Tom makes a rash decision that drastically changes not only his own life but the very fabric of the universe itself. In a time-travel mishap, Tom finds himself stranded in our 2016, what we think of as the real world. For Tom, our normal reality seems like a dystopian wasteland.

But when he discovers wonderfully unexpected versions of his family, his career, and—maybe, just maybe—his soul mate, Tom has a decision to make. Does he fix the flow of history, bringing his utopian universe back into existence, or does he try to forge a new life in our messy, unpredictable reality? Tom’s search for the answer takes him across countries, continents, and timelines in a quest to figure out, finally, who he really is and what his future—our future—is supposed to be.

All Our Wrong Todays is about the versions of ourselves that we shed and grow into over time. It is a story of friendship and family, of unexpected journeys and alternate paths, and of love in its multitude of forms. Filled with humor and heart, and saturated with insight and intelligence and a mind-bending talent for invention, this novel signals the arrival of a major talent.

 

This one! This is a good one! I'm shaking my head slightly at how rapidly it moved but it was definitely a good one.

 

I've got to admit, this started off really slowly and if I wasn't reading to review, I probably would have put it down. However, once it sucked me in, it sucked me in hardcore. Probably around the quarter mark--or whenever the whimsically perfect yet tragically flawed character of Penelope was introduced--I became extremely invested very fast.

 

I felt like the final few chapters were rushed... As they basically encompass an entire lifetime, the book would have been far too drawn out, lengthy, and bloated if it had expanded upon these chapters so I'm not really sure how I'd fix that, but I did feel like it got to a point where Tom was speeding through the story.

 

On the topic of Tom. What a character. And again, the ending became too rushed. But the faucets of him that made him who he was, how all the various memories and parts of him intertwined to create him, those were strong.

 

As with all books about time travel, there were some aspects of this that I found challenging to comprehend or really understand. However, I found the basic premises that the science of the book was based upon was believable and comprehensible, and I appreciate how it was explained by someone who seemed to have about the same grasp on science as I do.

 

I appreciated the understanding of human desires and the perspective that time brings us. While at moments it was heartbreaking, unfair, this was one thread of the book that really stayed with me.

 

This might take a little time to sink into and it was complex at points, but it was well crafted and compelling.

 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-02-08 01:10
SEDUCING MR. DARCY by Gwyn Cready
Seducing Mr. Darcy - Gwyn Cready

This is my favorite book of hers. The geography is correct about Pittsburgh. I loved it! I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is fun and funny! I could not put it down and read it in two days (I had to sleep.) Mr. Darcy is in it and there are twists and turns that keep it lively and rollicking.

Flip gets a massage and is told to think of any book she wants. She tells the masseuse one book but thinks of Pride and Prejudice and ends up there where things go topsy-turvy. Now she must correct her mistake and she takes a visiting professor of Jane Austen with her, to help her talk sense into the characters back then. Add her ex-husband and his current girlfriend and what more could go wrong?

I enjoyed the characters both modern and Austen time. I loved the time travel. The story was so much fun! I also liked Flip's revenge. Could not have happened to a better man. Flip is funny and her interactions with Magnus are a delight. She's not sure whether to kill him or love him.

Let's just say this is a keeper so I don't ruin it for others.

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review 2017-01-29 04:04
Weird Science
The Breach - Patrick Lee

After several false starts, I got into this book. I read most of it on the way to Illinois for Thanksgiving. This is one of those books that takes a while to get started, but once you're in, you're in. The concept is so crazy, it takes a while to figure out what's going on. I think the closest comparison I could make is the TV show "Fringe". It's that kind of crazy. Also it's the kind of thing that people who have tons of conspiracy theories and deep distrust for the establishment, corporations and the government will read and say, "I told you so." The ending is a bit of a mindblower. I am still trying to decide how I felt about it.

I am no physics genius, but I love the concept of time travel. I like the ethics and philosophical aspects. You know, the whole grandfather complex thing and the "if you could go forward or back, would you?" kind of thing. Also, there's the whole what happens when we open doors to places we don't know anything about. Should some doors stay closed?

As a scientist, I have asked myself that many times. I tend to be a big fan of scientific ethics and I think that you can't throw that out just in the search of knowledge. Seek it, but seek it carefully and cautiously. Some of the inventions in this book, I can't even. I mean, they should be buried in a very deep hole somewhere. I pray some of this will never exist in real life.

So anyway, my opinions of science and time travel aside, this trippy book really grabbed me and didn't let me go. There is a high body count and I asked myself what the hell is wrong with some people. They abandon right and wrong for power and ugly stuff happens. That's a big part of this book. Also, on the good side, there are people who will put their lives on the line to do the right thing. That takes a lot of moral courage and I feel that even from fiction, we can draw courage to face those tough ethical decisions in our own lives.

This one has some blood and guts, but nothing gratuitous. I would advise readers to plan to pick up the next book. I have it, and I will try to get to it in the nearish future.

This is my second book by Patrick Lee. I read Runner first, and I like his style. He's not afraid to go there and put the reader through their paces. He doesn't give them a cut and dried book. He makes them think about what they are reading. I like that in an author.

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