Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Review: The Line Tender

The Line Tender The Line Tender by Kate Allen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a well-thought-out book, written with near-poetic grace and sensitivity. This novel is centered on the life of a young girl who is coping with the death of her mother, a woman whose scientific work studying sharks creates the unifying motifs of the sea, sharks and water throughout the story. Lucy, on the cusp of discovering first love, experiences another tragic loss. The characters of her father, their widowed neighbor and her father's friend Sookie are tightly written, and while not as dynamic as Lucy's development throughout the story, these three men create their intriguing storylines.

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Sunday, June 30, 2019

Review: A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder

A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder by Dianne Freeman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is quite the charmer. It was like what if Downtown Abbey's Lady Mary Crawley had become a detective? I loved that twist of the usual mystery book.

The female empowerment theme was satisfying as were the details of the glorious intricacies of high society in Victorian England, and how it would be more likely to murder a sister-in-law than ruin her reputation because a ruined reputation would affect the whole family.

The twist at the end was a bright spot, as I actually didn't see it coming. It was overall a very satisfying read.

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Review: The Armored Saint

The Armored Saint The Armored Saint by Myke Cole
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This interesting fantasy book is a melding of medieval life, the Inquisition, gnomish mechanics via World of Warcraft, with a satisfying sprinkling of classic Dungeon and Dragon's lore. The subplot of our heroine's lesbian attraction for her friend and the background story of a homosexual ranger-wizard's lost lover combined made me feel that the book was a little pandering toward the LGBTQ community. It would have been my personal preference to focus on one gay love story, but to have both plus the dramatic, movie-of-the-week lecture of being allowed to freely love who you love seemed a bit mawkish.
To be clear, I quite enjoyed the presence of an LGBTQ storyline in a medieval fantasy. I just think it could have been written with more finesse by focusing on one relationship, and leaving the lecture on freedom of love out. The storyline should draw those thoughts out of the reader; not tell the audience what to think word-for-word.
Overall, the storyline felt very plausible, given that so much of what happened in the book has already happened in real life with religious fanaticism, political turmoil, classicism, poverty, shaming of homosexuals, etc. The entire plot was very believable, with the exception of demons. Well, ones we can see anyway.
I would read the next book because the heroine is engaging and powerful.

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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Review: All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Anthony Doerr's story of the experiences of a young German soldier and a blind French girl is nuanced, multi-layered; it is told with deft and skillful prose. These two individuals have their own views of the war, shaped by their circumstances, as they each survive the onslaught of social and political turmoil in their separate countries. In fact, for most of the novel, these two do not even meet. This is not a romance novel, though romance is involved; this is not a retelling of World War II's strategies and outcomes, though that is the background. This is a poignant tale of the complexity of our human existence, our connections with others. The German soldier is not evil. The blind girl is not wise. It is a soulful dance of life in all its shades of gray.

I was advised once that Hitler engaged the youth of his country at a time when people were hungry, and his promise of a chicken in every pot was remarkably effective. This approach is a part of the story, and it will give you an insight into the machinery of war.

This novel will dispell any Hollywood formulaic preconception you might have had.

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