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review 2020-03-05 00:40
Under the microscope
It Takes One - Kate Kessler

Continuing with the theme of 'murder murder murder' I picked up It Takes One by Kate Locke which is a psychological thriller taking place in a small rural town. (Looking at the descriptions of some of Locke's other books it seems like 'small town murder mystery' might be a specialty of hers.) Audrey Harte is a criminal psychologist who is frequently asked to lend her opinion on true crime shows where a professional analysis is required. Unbeknownst to her colleagues, she has a dark past that she's been trying to leave behind for years. You see Audrey murdered her best friend's father when they were kids and spent several years at a juvenile facility for violent girls. O_O So when she goes home for the first time in several years and a body turns up...you can imagine where the fingers start pointing. Now Audrey has to find the killer before either she's found guilty or dead. I will say that when you find out whodunit it is a SHOCK to say the least.

 

This is the first in a series featuring Audrey Harte as the main character but I think I've probably had my fill after reading this one. (She's not particularly likable if you want my opinion and the explicit sex scenes are not my cup of tea.) A surprising ending doesn't override the fact that I've read better psychological thrillers. 5/10

 

What's Up Next: The 7th Victim by Alan Jacobson

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2020-01-31 18:22
If only there had been a plot...
Memoirs Found in a Bathtub - Stanisław Lem,Christine Rose

Memoirs Found in a Bathtub caught my eye simply for the novelty of the title and that bizarre cover. This book is difficult to sum up or even to rate as it truly has no discernible plot. Lest you dismiss it immediately because of this fact, let me assure you that there's much to recommend this title. The word play and circuitous path of our main character (who remains nameless) is satire at its finest. Espionage, counterespionage, and counter-counterespionage abound in The Building where our character has been given a very important Mission...if only he knew what it was. He is continually beset by obstacles in the form of bureaucrats, winding halls with nondescript doors, and instructions that keep vanishing. What would happen if humanity was forced to abandon its cities and move into an underground bunker? Would society, culture, and technology survive and continue to advance?  Lem weaves a provocative tale of paranoia, confusion, and ultimately betrayal. 5/10 but would have been higher had there been a plot to follow. 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2020-01-31 18:19
Stanislaw Lem: A Masterpost
Solaris - Stanisław Lem,Steve Cox,Joanna Kilmartin
The Cyberiad: Fables for the Cybernetic Age - Stanisław Lem
Memoirs Found in a Bathtub - Stanisław Lem,Christine Rose

The premise is that a scientist is sent to Solaris (a planet with a space station) only to discover that the 3 inhabitants which he was meant to meet have been reduced to two. Our main character, Kris Kelvin, arrives hoping to crack the enigma of the alien ocean which comprises the whole of the planet (and which is sentient). Once he arrives, strange and disturbing things start to happen such as resurrection of the dead into corporeal beings. Is the entity aware of its cruelty? Is it conducting an experiment on the scientists like the ones that it has been subjected to over the years? Have they actually gone mad?! The overarching message that Lem seems to be making is that humanity continually seeks out new worlds and beings only to impose their own values and agendas to further their reach. (Think colonialism of other cultures and peoples.) He likens it to religion and the search for redemption. (Sci-fi and philosophy go hand-in-hand more often than not as most lovers of the genre will know.) For me it's a 4/10 as I found myself putting it down and grabbing other things to read instead.

 

Now The Cyberiad completely got me back on board the Stanislaw Lem fan train. It was absolutely hysterical. This is a collection of short stories all about the adventures (or rather misadventures) of 2 (in)famous constructors as they make their way across the universe. (These journeys are called sallies which is a detail I adore.) Our heroes, Klapaucius and Trurl, are constantly trying to one-up each other not only with their creations but also with their status as constructors and benefactors to the cosmos. These robots are constructed for all kinds of constructive and inane reasons like storytelling, poetry, making war, etc. And the words that Lem makes up! I'm trying to think of a better word than delightful to describe my reading experience but honestly it was a treat to read a bit of this every night before bed. (If you don't laugh at the depiction of 'palefaces' i.e. humans then you have no sense of humor at all.) An absolute 10/10 for me. (And wait til you read the twist. O_O)

 

Memoirs Found in a Bathtub caught my eye simply for the novelty of the title and that bizarre cover. This book is difficult to sum up or even to rate as it truly has no discernible plot. Lest you dismiss it immediately because of this fact, let me assure you that there's much to recommend this title. The word play and circuitous path of our main character (who remains nameless) is satire at its finest. Espionage, counterespionage, and counter-counterespionage abound in The Building where our character has been given a very important Mission...if only he knew what it was. He is continually beset by obstacles in the form of bureaucrats, winding halls with nondescript doors, and instructions that keep vanishing. What would happen if humanity was forced to abandon its cities and move into an underground bunker? Would society, culture, and technology survive and continue to advance?  Lem weaves a provocative tale of paranoia, confusion, and ultimately betrayal. 5/10 but would have been higher had there been a plot to follow. 

 

What's Up Next: Exhalation by Ted Chiang

 

What I'm Currently Reading: The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa

 

 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2019-06-27 21:53
My Life as a Rat by Joyce Carol Oates
My Life as a Rat - Joyce Carol Oates

This is a complicated book.
It’s as much about Violet Rue as it is about the men that abuse her and the women that allow this abuse to happen. Although the book takes place over a number of years, Violets lack of character growth is reflective of the cycles of abuse that she finds herself in, which I enjoyed as a narrative and structural choice. Moreover, the pieces of flash fiction that are interspaced between the longer chapters do well to add to the sense of growth for the other characters as well as accentuating how stunted Violet has become. This makes her decision at the end of the novel all the more cathartic for the reader.
However, The first 100 pages of this book were very difficult to get through as it lacked anything that would make the reader latch on to the characters and care about Violet (given this is a character-driven novel). Yet once the actual plot of the book got going and Violet began her journey I found the book to be very interesting. But I can say that sadly although I enjoyed the book overall if I hadn’t been intending to review the book and hadn’t been sent it by the publishers then I doubt I would have made it past that first chunk.
The relationships in this book lack the intimacy that a person would expect from a novel like this. There is sexual intimacy but no romantic chemistry for the most part which was a welcome change from what we normally see from books of this genre. And since Violet's loneliness blended well with this theme it is clear that Joyce Carol Oates had clear intentions of what she wanted to say with this book.
Having said that the theme of Racism that runs through this book is also controversial and I implore you to seek out a black reviewer to read about their opinions on its presentation.
Overall, this is an interesting character study on the effects of separation and abuse on a child and if those first 100 pages weren't so difficult to get through this would be a 5 Star read. I will certainly read another book by this author again.
⚠Trigger Warning: Paedophilia, Sexual Assault, Racism, Domestic Violence, Implied Animal Abuse⚠

I was sent this book as an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

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review 2019-06-23 22:28
The Half-God of Rainfall
The Half-God of Rainfall - Inua Ellams

This is Percy Jackson for grown-ups. ⚡
Inua Ellams does it again with an outstanding novella about heartache, motherhood and abuse.
I was enamoured from the very first line:
Portrait of Prometheus
as a basketball player.

Every word in this collection was perfectly chosen. Its concise writing style makes for an easy read despite the difficult topics that the author is discussing and this is largely thanks to his ability to craft relatable characters despite some being Minor Gods. I felt the rise and falls of these characters with an amount of emotion I didn't know I felt for them.
Character crafting in poetry can be especially difficult. However, I found it easy to distinguish one character from another because of how different they were. Petty female vs female hatred did not exist in the pages of this novel and considering some of the characters involved and how they are portrayed generally by other writers, I found to be very refreshing. Not only this but the format of this novel- free verse poetry split into books and acts, was something I had never seen for a book like this and very much enjoyed. I think this works very well here due to the influence Greek gods have on the story. The structure can be compared to a classic Greek tragedy and when you realise that it makes rereading the novel and an even better experience (especially as it made me realised that this was more the story of Modupe, Demi's mother before the perspective switched back to her).
This is a diverse multi-generational exploration of sexual assault that should be missed by no one.
⚠Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault, PTSD

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/2865572106
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