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review 2020-10-28 08:33
Murder at Queen's Landing (Wexford & Sloane, #4)
Murder at Queen's Landing - Andrea Penrose

I've really enjoyed the first three books in this series, and though I enjoyed this one too it was a bit heavy on the sentimentality.

 

Penrose crafts her plots around fictionalised versions of real historic events, and this time around it's mathematical machines and financial shenanigans that may or may not involve the East India Company.  Her historical knowledge always adds an extra depth to the story, and a well plotted mystery makes it even better.

 

Charlotte has built quite a scooby gang around her and Wexford, and the characters are fully fleshed and they're easy to care about and cheer for.  But the dynamic between Wexford and Charlotte has become increasingly sentimental to the point of down right syrupy.  The sentiments are lovely, but just a little too much for my tastes.  I was also getting aggravated at the overuse of the word ‘dastards’.  

 

I'm still a fan, but I'm hoping the next book will regain a little of the edge the first couple had.

 

 

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review 2020-03-29 13:13
The DNA of You and Me
The DNA of You and Me - Andrea Rothman

Emily Apell knows exactly what she want to do with her life.  When she gets the chance to join a renowned research lab, Emily knows this is her chance to make a breakthrough in the science of smell. Emily has never felt like she fit in with other people.   However, lab colleague Aeden intrigues Emily like no one before.  Unfortunately, Aeden seems to have no interest in Emily and only sees her as a competitor.  Aeden's research is surprisingly similar to to what Emily was brought in to work on. When Emily's research proves more promising and Aeden is faced with being kicked out of the lab, Emily makes a decision to make Aeden an equal partner in her research. Emily and Aeden begin a clunky relationship, but as things progress Emily realizes she is in uncharted waters.  Years later, as Emily is about to accept an award for her work, she tries to unravel what happened in their relationship.

The DNA of You and Me is a very different type of romance where a neurodivergent tries to piece together what happened to a relationship that almost changed her goal in life.  I could tell Emily's character was a bit different from the beginning and yet I could relate to her not attaching to any people and feeling like she was just fine without them.  I have to admit I found the science part of the book way more fascinating than the relationship part.  It was clear that the author had experience in the lab as well as an extensive knowledge of the science of smell.  I enjoyed reading about the process of tirelessly searching databases, finding something that looks promising, isolating the gene and seeing if it does what is expected.  The reality of research science is also highlighted, that most of what is worked on is a failure- or at least not what was expected.  Aeden was a conundrum to me, approaching his relationship with Emily as something he needs to hide, almost hate fueled and willing to ruin everything that she has worked on for what he believes is love.  I understood Emily's attraction more since Aeden seemed to be the first person she ever clicked with, ever felt that she needed to be around.  In the end, I felt that Emily made the right decisions for herself and highlighted the strength of women in the STEM field.  


This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
 

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review 2020-02-09 17:22
Full Circle: From Hollywood to Real Life and Back Again - Andrea Barber
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

I received a copy of this book through Goodreads, in exchange for an honest review.

A well-written, honest, inspiring, and entertaining memoir that gives a look at Barber's experiences with acting, fame, anxiety, divorce, motherhood, and life.

Throughout the book, Barber discusses her passion and talent for writing. This really shows in the book. The narration instantly pulls the reader in and she does a fantastic job crafting the stories of her life. I could definitely see Barber continuing a writing career.

As someone who casually watched Full House as a kid, but hadn't yet started Fuller House, I was interested in seeing an inside perspective on the whole phenomenon. I was pleasantly surprised by how interesting I found this book and how much I enjoyed it. It is easy to connect with Barber through the page because of her fantastic writing style.

While Barber deals with many heavy topics in this book, the overall tone is very positive. It emphasizes love, acceptance, and family, which ties in perfectly with the tones of Full(er) House. Even when writing about darker issues, Barber's positive perspective really shines through. She does not shy away from sharing her hardships, but emphasizes the light at the end and what she learned from the experience. I also thought she did a good job recognizing her privilege while still showing that she has struggled through various stages of life like any other person. A wonderful read.

As I was reading, the desire to watch Fuller House hit to see Barber's references first-hand. The nostalgia of watching the show as a kid came out and now I found a feel-good show that I really enjoy.

This was a great read that showcases Barber's talent for writing, her humor, and her mature and developed perspective on life. A remarkable book.
 
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review 2020-01-08 18:58
The Madness Vase - Andrea Gibson
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

A gorgeous, thought-provoking, haunting, beautiful, harrowing, maddening, gut-wrenching collection of poems. Gibson has such a way with words and a real talent for creating lasting images and descriptions. This book deals with a lot of heavy issues in a way that is both lovely and disconcerting.

A truly remarkable read.
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text 2020-01-01 22:13
Retrospective 2019
Kallocain: Roman aus dem 21. Jahrhundert - Karin Boye,Helga Clemens
Sauriergeschichten - Ray Bradbury,Fredy Köpsell,Andrea Kamphuis
Ein leeres Haus - Lidija Čukovskaja,Melissa Mathay
The Undying Fire - H.G. Wells
Erwachen im 21. Jahrhundert - Jürg Halter
What I Loved - Siri Hustvedt
The Electric State - Simon Stålenhag

Looking back at 2019 I really liked a lot of the books that I have read, but as always, there were a couple of disappointments as well. Due to the fact that I also had to write my master’s thesis (which – heureka! – is finally done), I set my goal for the annual Reading Challenge quite low at 20 and for the first time in the four years I have been doing this, I successfully managed to meet this goal.

Before I start a new year of reading, I would like to take the time for a short retrospect and share with you what I liked and disliked and why.


The top 3 of 2019
First and foremost I would like to highlight Kallocain by Karin Boye as one of the best novels I have read this past year. It is not only an example of superb writing, but it features some incredibly strong scenes that are still on my mind and still get to me whenever I think about them.
Secondly, everything written by Bradbury, but especially his Dinosaur Stories, because they were so passionate and imaginative, that they outshine Fahrenheit 451 as well as Now and Forever in this regard.
And the third place goes to Lidija Čukovskaja for her novel The deserted House, the touching and bigger than life tale of Olga Petrovna that brought tears to my eyes.


The bottom 3 of 2019
I was immensely disappointed by The Undying Fire, not only because I highly admire H. G. Wells, but also because it had such a promising start. Overall, it is too lengthy and the structure depends too much on lining up monologue after monologue after monologue that it is hard to keep your interest up.
Another big letdown was Erwachen im 21. Jahrhundert by Jürg Halter. Again, I had quite high hopes, but unfortunately this novel is too pessimistic for my taste and it is so over the top cynical! Due to Halter being a poet rather than a novelist the text is also quite demanding, which is not a bad thing per se, but in this case it is so overflowing with so much at the same time that I reached a mental overload multiple times.
Finally, Siri Hustvedt’s What I loved was by far the worst. Too descriptive, too ivory-tower elitist, a complete lack of inner logic and in my opinion, a bunch of unbelievable and uninteresting characters.


Honourable Mentions
There is one book I would like to add as an honourable mention: Simon Stålenhag’s The Electric State. Since I primarily bough it, because I had already fallen in love with his artwork a couple of years ago, I was not disappointed, even though the storyline is a little on the weak side.

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