Review: The Teahouse Fire

I actually finished this about two weeks ago, but I needed time to digest it before I wrote any kind of commentary on it. This isn’t quite on my “I’m ashamed I haven’t read this” book list, but it has been on my “to read” pile for years (literally for years. It had dust on it). I noticed the library had it on audiobook so I picked it up for my commute-listening-pleasure. The book was…. interesting. There was a lot I enjoyed (especially given how much I enjoy Japanese tea ceremony). A lot of what she discusses in the process is similar to the “Tea Club” lessons I was able to participate in when I spent a semester in Japan. I would never try to replicate tea ceremony, but I can appreciate the dance, art, and skill. So, to begin let me say that I never felt the main character grew up. Aurelia (the protagonist) never tries to understand the

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Review: The Strange Library

I checked this book out from the library in audiobook for something to do some cleaning to and then pick up for the week. When it downloaded it said it was only one hour long! Oh. I didn’t realize it was a kid’s book. This is not a kid’s book. It’s at least PG. Maybe PG-13. The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami is definitely a different kind of fantasy. I will have to pick up more by him to create a firm opinion. I kind of wish I had read-read it, apparently it’s illustrated – I might have to check out the physical copy just to get a chance to see those…. This was a short read, and engrossing. It was in some ways a childish tone, but like the original Snow White, Cinderella, the Robber’s Bride…. there is a darkness lurking there that should not be discounted. If you like traditional fairy tales – you should read this. It

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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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