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2017 Reading Challenge

Jill Elizabeth has read 2 books toward her goal of 150 books.
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Book Review: Gorilla and the Bird by Zack McDermott

“…there is a real, and very important, distinction between sanity and lucidity”

I have long been fascinated by stories about mental health and the myriad ways our brains can betray us. It always seemed to me to be the ultimate betrayal – when you cannot trust yourself to be yourself, what on earth can you trust? In this amazing story, Zack transitions from a successful Public Defender helping those who cannot help themselves to a man suffering from a psychotic break who cannot be trusted to take care of himself. The transition is a startling one – it happens in the flip of a page (in reality, several weeks), and the shift is both inexplicable and terrifying. As the book unfolds, his family and childhood history are gradually explained and the shift seems less inexplicable – but never any less terrifying.
Continue reading Book Review: Gorilla and the Bird by Zack McDermott

Book Review: The Library of Light and Shadow by M.J. Rose

“The way my mother had explained it, there were moments in people’s lives so powerful that they remained behind, even after the people had moved on, and sometimes when the light fell a certain way, we could witness those moments”

This was a very interesting story that started with a mystery and ended with a bit of an enigma, but in a delightful (rather than unfinished) way… The concept – an artist from a family with a storied history mired in the spiritual and supernatural whose own brand of unusual talents run toward painting people’s shadow secrets – was very original and well developed. Delphine is a delightful main character, full of magic and mayhem and just enough confusion and self-doubt to remain utterly relatable. The surrounding cast – particularly in the form of her family – is charming and infuriating and full of enough quirks and foibles to provide the perfect backdrop for the story, which is itself well-plotted, nicely paced, and easily followed.
Continue reading Book Review: The Library of Light and Shadow by M.J. Rose

Book Review: The Whispering Room by Dean Koontz

“You’re dead already… They’ll all know about you in the whispering room.”

I just LOVE this series! I reviewed the first bookThe Silent Corner – earlier this year and was so intrigued by Jane Hawk and the evil she is battling that I could not wait for the next installment… In this, the second, Jane is still on the run, still facing untold and nearly unimaginable horrors. Well, nearly unimaginable until you start *really* thinking about the pervasive nature of technology – then they become altogether TOO imaginable, which makes them even more horrific. The investigative aspects of this story are engaging. As Jane teases out the ever-increasingly widespread reach of this conspiracy, the elements slowly come together and apart with a subtle tension that is delectable. Continue reading Book Review: The Whispering Room by Dean Koontz

Book Review: 13 Ways to Midnight by Rue Volley

“Curiosity is for the devil and fairytales.”

This was an entertaining, quick read for me. I really liked a lot about it, but it did fall into some YA tropes a few times, hence the three stars. The characters are interesting, albeit not as richly developed as they could have been – they felt familiar, like I’d seen their shadows in other books… That’s not necessarily a deal-breaker for me. I like characters and stories that don’t require a lot of effort to follow – pure entertainment is as good a reason to read as any other, after all. Still, while I was fairly thoroughly entertained throughout, I found that after I finished, I was not itching for another installment (even though it clearly ended with a nod in that direction).

“…books call out to me…all of them, they always have. It doesn’t matter the subject; it’s the secrets behind the covers that intrigue me. Curiosity, it’s my greatest weakness and yet my only strength. In books, I was courageous, adventurous, and unlike myself caught here in the physical world. There, I was capable of deciphering so many things.”

That’s not to say that Echo and Midnight’s story isn’t worth your time – there were some cool, original elements here, and the writing is very easy to follow and engaging. And there were more than a few very clever quotes/insights, as you can see. If you’re looking for a darkly light (make any sense?) YA distraction, this one fits the bill nicely..

“Every sacrifice has a purpose.”

Book Review: The Furthest Station by Ben Aaronovitch

“What, like officially?”
“Officially secret,” I said because discretion is supposed to be, if not our middle name, at least a nickname we occasionally answer to when we remember.

I just LOVE this series! There are so many excellent elements – clever dialogue and turns of phrase, unique characters, original plots… There are, admittedly, always a few points where I find myself suddenly, randomly, lost – not usually in the plot, although that does happen on occasion, but mostly in the language (thank god for the internet, because British slang is not the easiest thing to follow OR figure out) – but things always seem to come together relatively quickly, and even the meandering bits are always entertaining…

In this latest installment, Peter once again finds himself in over his head with ghosts, but through his own efforts (supplemented handily by Nightengale, Abigail, and a few key others) manages to pull himself over and through the problem and into a cleverly managed and utterly satisfying conclusion. This one is numbered 5.7 in the series; it felt rather like an in-between book. There was no mention of the ongoing issues with Punch or Lesley. And, more surprising given the series title (Rivers of London), there was hardly any River element. Continue reading Book Review: The Furthest Station by Ben Aaronovitch

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