Review: Stain

Stain by A.G. Howard was released in January. I am trying to get better about finding the new releases as they happen. This is one I am really glad I saw my library had available. I had to wait a minute because others read it ahead of me. This book is not a retelling of a fairy tale. I was expecting to see bones of something familiar – and although there are a few references, this is definitely it’s own story. Supposedly it’s based on “the princess and the pea” but I think it’s got significant legs of it own. Lyra can’t talk and usually a “silent” protagonist is really difficult, but Howard does a good job. My biggest critique is how long it takes to get to what I felt was the “meat” of the book. The first 1/3 of the book or so has a perfect tone of a fairy tale. But it takes too long. I think

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Review: Binti Trilogy

Over the holidays I read the Binti Trilogy (Binti, Home, The Night Masquerade). Now, I was intrigued because it’s Nnedi Okoafor (I lovedAkata Witch). So Binti went on sale and I picked it up. I didn’t realize these are novellas, so they are quick little reads and thoroughly enjoyable. What I love about Okoafor is her great twists on genres. In Akata, she brought african mythology to the traditional western fantasy genre. She approached a similar idea with Binti. The main character, Binti, is brilliant and imperfect in some of the best ways. I don’t want to spoil the plot, and I’m not sure I can sum up beyond the first few pages of book 1 without spoilers. So… let’s just say the plot kept me so engrossed I was sad to leave the universe she had built. I firmly believe Binti and her companions have further adventures – they have to. They are too good together not to get into more shenanigans. My

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Review: Frankenstein

Whew – that was. Interesting. So I knew the story pretty damn well. Despite not reading it before, I really felt like there were few surprises. The only big surprise to me was the super-secret of how he made Frankenstein. That is one the movie-makers really confused me on with the whole lightning thing. I even went to Gutenberg and searched “lightning” – it’s only mentioned 5 times in the whole book and all AFTER the monster is created. I was looking for that!! Ok, I’m not going to stress about spoilers because…. well the book was originally written in 1818 and anything 200 years old (Damn, I wish I’d read it last year) I think should be pretty fair game. If you need to, you can go to Wikipedia, although it definitely is worth the read. Now, for my take on the book. I think Frankenstein made the monster up because he is mentally ill. I don’t know enough psychology

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Review: Dragon Pearl

I devoured this book in a way I don’t normally these days (I try to savor a good book). It came out on Tuesday. I got a library notification it was automatically checked out for me. I downloaded it in the morning. Started reading at lunch. Came home and finished it. Now I am trying to decide when/where to go pick up a physical copy to put on my shelf. I expect I’ll be reading this again and again over the years. This is a middle grades novel, so it is marketed for ~11-14 year old kids. It is not however childish. It deals with issues that are very, very real – gambling addiction; honor (and recognizing the dishonor of adults); trust and friendship and betrayal – of all kinds; and definitely death. These aren’t childish ideas or themes and Yoon Ha Lee does not shy from them nor preach about them. They are facts of life and must be

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Resolutions: Books

So for 2018 I did the “Goodreads Challenge” – and if you aren’t on Goodreads, I recommend it – I love being able to add stuff in the library or bookstore or wherever to my “to read” list and go back later to re-find the things I couldn’t pick up at the time but want to read. Sorry, that’s my plug for the week. I set the challenge of reading 60 books in 2018. I ended up reading 62. Now, I counted anything that was on Goodreads. All my re-reads, all my new books, audiobooks – everything. I read a lot. I never felt like I had to go find a short book to fit in the challenge. There were 2 books I started and gave up halfway through (rare, but it does happen!) In 2019 I set the goal of 12. This year I am going to work on reading some of the classics I’ve always missed for one

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Review: Moist Von Lipwig

I can finally review this trilogy since I finished it over the weekend.  I’ve read and re-read Going Postal and Making Money for years, but somehow I never got around to Raising Steam.  Moist was my real intro to Discworld and Terry Pratchett.  Then I went back and red Guards! Guards!  I’m working my way (slowly) through the Witches books. But I hold a special place for Moist.  He’s awful in a lot of ways.  Like really a bad person who wants to be selfish and greedy.  At least in the first two books.  Now, he also has a strong internal set of morals and ethics – his own which no one else would ever agree with but… So Going Postal is probably my favorite of the three.  I thoroughly enjoy seeing Moist struggle with his desire to run away and his determination to do something interesting.  The character is “forced” into his position but never loses agency or personality.  In Making Money, he’s somewhat

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Review: Audiobook Players

This review is specifically how these players work with Android Auto (AA) in my Kia Sorento.  I can’t speak as an authority that Android Auto is the same everywhere, so this is definitely MY opinion. There are technically 5 different audiobook players I have used/do use during my commute.  I’m really only going to review 4 however since Overdrive is pushing towards Libby – either way this is the library, so 100% free (well, paid for by our taxes).  Both Audible by Amazon and Google Play Books require you purchase your books (Audible having a subscription, Google Play doesn’t).  Lastly, the mostly-free option of Librivox. Libby I love getting books from my library.  I do not love Libby.  This app is awkward. It only recently (like maybe this summer) finally updated to even work on Android Auto.  And it’s…. usable.  The controls are all-but useless (the skip is worthless in the car – it skips too much – I made this mistake once). The worst thing is the launch.  Libby

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Review: The Veil of Gold

The Veil of Gold by Kim Wilkins was good, but I can’t quite give it great.  It grabbed me pretty quickly, I didn’t hit 100 pages before I was carrying it around so I could read anywhere I found myself with a few moments. The characters were interesting.  I wouldn’t give them all kudos on being well-rounded but they were definitely interesting and I really liked that the main male in the novel was in a lot of ways very anti-trope.  He was nervous and uncertain and very kind.  And yet I never would call him “whiny” (ok, not without really good cause– ’cause he had one!) and I would never think he wasn’t a man. Ok, so let me get straight to my biggest beef.  The ending.  It was abrupt.  There was all this lead up and build and then in like 20 pages tried to tie everything into a bow that ended up being very messy instead of amazing.  The story kind of desperately

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Review: Hugo Winner Stone Sky!

N.K. Jemisin’s series The Broken Earth won the Hugo Best Novel for ALL THREE NOVELS.  And having just finished it – damn, I’m not surprised. Jemisin throws you into the world and uses three voices to explore it so you see it from several viewpoints in the first book.  In the second book she narrows into just a pair of views and for books two and three she generally sticks with Essun and Nassun; but takes a side-line to explore how everything got here in the first place. Ok, so Jemisin is amazing at two things in this series: her world-building and her magic system. Let me start with the world.  The “complaint” I might have is she calls it “Earth” but I would find it much easier to have wrapped my mind around it if she had called it anything else.  I kept trying to put her “Earth” onto the layout of planet & continents I know – and I will go

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