Review: Black Jewels Trilogy

This is not my normal fare of fantasy. These three books by Anne Bishop; Daughter of the Blood, Heir to the Shadows, Queen of the Darkness. They are borderline romantic, without the erotic elements most romance novels feature. Reading these three books, it felt like I got dropped into a world without a lot of context. But since this was her debut novel, it’s not like I accidentally picked up a trilogy in a world she’s written other books in (I did that with Mercedes Lackey before). I want to start here that I would not recommend this book casually. There is too much dealing with trauma and abuse to just say “everyone would enjoy!” and not in a “everyone would learn good lessons from her approach” way. A LOT of people would be made very uncomfortable with the issues it addresses. These issues are very interwoven throughout the three novels, although the most in the first novel. By the

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Review: Book of a Thousand Days

Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale is written like a diary, the entries numbered by days. The story itself is an interesting melding of eastern and western fantasy. I like that the world isn’t a direct correlation to Chinese or Japanese imperialism. At least not anything so directly recognizable. The plot is such a cool retelling of Rapunzel. Sort of. Which I love. I love when authors give me what I think is a story I know, put it a cool twist on it, and drop me with a swift kick in the expectations. And this book delivers all that inside an intriguing medium of the “diary” storytelling method. Which is challenging. And I love the illustrations (James Noel Smith does them and they are really good). The villain is well written and evil and scary and yet realistic (in the world Hale created). The magic is there but not blatant. The romance is subtle and kind of funny and

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Review: Three Cups of Tea

Three Cups of Tea: One man’s mission to Promote Peace… One School at a Time has taken me about three years to read. It was my toilet book and for a very long time, I would look at it feel utterly intimidated by it, so I would read and re-read the first chapter or two. I finally started making myself read a paragraph at a time. Once I did, I began to steadily devour it. Then I had a kid and often my bathroom time was too rushed to even try. Or worse…. I had a crying baby in my arms while I tried to do my business. But finally this year I finished the book. I feel bad because this books deserves so much better than this. I will go back and re-read this book someday over a vacation at the beach while I make my husband play with the kid in the sand and I just read. However,

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Review: The Belgariad

My brother gave me these books by David Eddings when I was in middle school and they are an old favorite. With everything going on in the world, I have been struggling to read. This is breaking my heart, but it’s true. My brain just can’t process new things from books right now. New worlds and characters are too much. So I borrowed the first book on audio book from the library just to have something comforting. I devoured them all over again. This series was a warm blanket of comfort. The characters are not extremely rounded. They are in fact mostly two-dimensional. They were tropes when Eddings wrote the book. The world is kind of flat. Very flat. Nations are not made of diverse people, the people themselves are tropes. There are only two languages (apparently) and one of them might still be more “extreme dialect difference” rather than actually a different language. Like Spain-Spanish vs. Mexico-Spanish. And somehow

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Review: Qualityland

Qualityland was originally published in German, but the English edition came out in January 2020. And I picked it up as an audiobook for my commute. My initial impression is dammmn. It is definitely a book addressing issues of the day. Some of the references are already dated or will be within just a few years, and I don’t understand why the author seems to have a strong hatred for Jennifer Anniston romantic comedies. But the concept of personal data and online profiles is very contextual to today. I wish there had been less foul language. If it had used four-letter words slightly less often I would be able to call for this to be read in every high school. Like EVERY high school. 1984 level. The entire concept is that the main character, Peter Jobless, is struggling with who he is, how he fits in society, and how to feel like his own life is meaningful. The anti-capitalism message is

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Review: The Screwtape Letters

I had not read this since high school. At the time I was deep in Southern Christian Culture (I need to post more about this sometime). I also was just young (duh, right?). When I read it then I thought it was dense and laborious. Now, with more life experience and political experience (not just legal politics, but personal/professional politics) the writing was powerful. Almost painful. I don’t write a lot about my faith, it is something I find difficult to put into words. It is very personal. And that is where Screwtape Letters hits home. It talks of a very personal theology where a young Christian is being tempted. It’s very internal, all about his own choices and lifestyle. How does he approach situations. It isn’t the action that matters, it’s the motivation. Acting humble to prove he’s humble isn’t the same as actually being humble. There were several chapters I almost want to take out and individually discuss,

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Review: Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

I almost don’t want to review this book because I feel like I need to read it again to do it justice. Part of this is because my sister told me she enjoyed it the most the third time she read it. I also listened to it (since the end of Anna, this has been my commute-audiobook) and this is a rare book I don’t think works as well in audio form the first time. The biggest reason for this “don’t listen to it first” comes from two things. There is a prophecy which is only actually given in it’s complete form once.  And in a very active scene. And it sounds like gibberish for another 100 pages. The book also has a lot of footnotes, which I think the audio book did an excellent job of incorporating, but the footnotes are wordy and at times distracting from the overall novel. Lastly, I went into this book with high expectations

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2019 Resolution Review

I set myself the goal of just 12 books this year. I had 15 to choose from. I ended up completing 7. I’m disappointed in myself for the most part, but you know my life was just a little crazy this year (I totally blame having a kid for throwing me off my game). I also changed jobs, but that was a little less dramatic. Here are the “classic” books I read this year and the reviews I wrote on them: Frankenstein The Bell Jar My Sister’s Keeper The Phantom Tollbooth The Great Gatsby Wuthering Heights Anna Karenina I am glad I read these books. Most of them I enjoyed more than I expected. Great Gatsby was probably the exception to this rule. Wuthering Heights has stuck in my mind more than I expected. Anna was as painful as I expected (Russian novels have a reputation). It’s not like I didn’t read other books, I re-read quite a few and

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Review: Anna Karenina

The TL;DR review for this book (since this is such a damn long book): I wouldn’t have minded an abridged version. That is the first time in my life I have read a book and wished for the abridged version. Ok, maybe I would have liked one for Prince of Tides too, but I had to read that for school. This is the first time for a book I read by choice. (Again – Tale of Two Cities I might need abridged. That thing is just my Achilles heel). To begin with, I am very confused why Anna is the titular character. The book begins with Constantine Levin and ends with Levin. Why isn’t he the name on the cover??? It is like 10 chapters before Anna is even introduced! And then it isn’t like most of the rest of the book follows her. I am sure if I went and counted the chapters about Levin and the chapters about

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Reading: 2019 Resolution Nov. Edition

I am behind on my resolution of classics (still). I might not make it. I am going to put in a damn good effort though!! This is of course on top of my annual “I am going to try NaNoWriMo again” attempt. Completed: Frankenstein The Bell Jar My Sister’s Keeper The Phantom Tollbooth The Great Gatsby Wuthering Heights Attempted and failed: A Tale of Two Cities (for the upteenth time in my life!) Started: Kidnapped (Robert Louis Stevenson) audiobook downloaded from the library. The Left Hand of Darkness (Ursula K. LeGuin) downloaded from the library Anna Karenina (Leo Tolstoy) been listening to the audiobook (from Librivox) in the car. I am on Chapter 133 out of 238 which is 56%, but it’s on hold since Kidnapped came through. On hold/planned/gotten: Good Omens (Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman) downloaded the ebook from Google Play The God of Small Thing (Arundhati Roy) I am on hold with a copy from the library. Silence

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