Category Archives: books/book review

Review of Resistance, by B R. Sanders

I bought a copy of B. R. SandersResistance.

Description from Goodreads:
Resistance has many faces, and one of them is Shandolin’s. When she finds her friend brutally murdered, Shandolin decides to fight instead of run–but her only hope of survival is a takeover of the City government. Shandolin draws everyone she loves into the fray with her: her assassin lover, Rivna; her mentor, Moshel; and her best friend, Kel. Apart, they are weak, but together Shandolin and her friends, lovers and fellows may be just strong enough to save their skins and the skins of the other elves in the City. 

Review:
Another winner from Sanders. The world-building here is fabulous. Though I’ve read several stories in this world, I think you get a pretty good idea of its complexity here in condensed form.

The main character Shandolin (Doe) is likable as are the side characters. But what’s really great is that you get diversity in the cast, both in the racial divisions of the elves, Qin, satyrs, humans, etc (though not all of them play a big part in this book), but also in sexuality, gender orientation, body types, and relationship styles. And all of it is just part of who they are, no need to make it the conflict on which the story hinges.

The infant social revolt that the story does hinge on is sketched out fairly faintly. Much of it depends on connections Doe made before the beginning of the story. But there is certainly enough to follow and believe it. I did feel the end was a bit rushed. Though I liked the ending just fine, it did seem to come about quite easily.

As an aside, and I’m really not sure as it’s been over a year since I read Ariah, but I think some of these might be side characters from the middle of that book. I’m not sure, as I said, but they all felt so familiar but I’m not certain on the names. Can anyone give me a yes or no on that idea? I see another review that said this is a whole new cast. So, now I’m doubting myself.


What I’m drinking: I swear I have been sick more times this year than in entire decades combined. I seem to have caught another cold. So, I’m supping on a some Celestial Seasons Honey Vanilla Chamomile tea. (And I’m sure there is some sort of irony in doing it out of a cup with the queen of a notorious empire-building nation on the front while reading a book about trying to overthrow the outsider government. But that was wholly accidental.)

Review of Wolf’s-Own Bundle, by Carole Cummings

I purchased a copy of Carole CummingsWolf’s-Own bundle, containing Ghost, Weregild, Koan, Incendiary.

Description from Goodreads:
Read Wolf’s-own: the four-book fantasy epic featuring Fen Jacin-rei—Incendiary, Catalyst, Once-Untouchable—and Kamen Malick, who is determined to decode the intrigue that surrounds him. Fen’s mind is host to the spirits of long-dead magicians, and Fen’s fate should be one of madness and ignoble death. So how is it Fen lives, carrying out shadowy vengeance for his subjugated people and protecting the family he loves? With a threat all too close and a secret he needs to explain, Malick is at odds with those who should be his allies, and no matter how much he wants to protect Fen, it may be more than he can manage when he’s trying to keep them alive

Review:
I’m not going to write individual reviews for each of these books, because though I understand they are split up to avoid a 900 page epic and each does come to a relatively natural stopping point, it is undeniably one single story and any individual book would be most unsatisfactory on its own. So, they are not stand-alones! But since I read them as a bundle I’ll rate/review them as one. Even as I acknowledge that if I’d only had the first, I likely wouldn’t rate it so high, considering its lack of conclusion.

But as a single story I really enjoyed it. It’s tragic and complex and redemptive all at the same time. I loved Fen and Kamen, as well as Kamen’s whole team and Fen’s family. The world is complex and multi-demential and the peoples are varied.

I did occasionally, especially in climactic scenes, wonder how things that happened happened. I often knew what was happening, but felt I missed the explanation of how it was happening. How someone suddenly had control of another or caused a certain something to occur, etc. Similarly, sometimes things that were meant to be cryptic to the characters were also a little too cryptic to the reader. But all in all I loved it.

Review of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir, by Jenny Lawson

I borrowed the audio version of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, by Jenny Lawson from the library.

Description from Goodreads:
When Jenny Lawson was little, all she ever wanted was to fit in. That dream was cut short by her fantastically unbalanced father (a professional taxidermist who created dead-animal hand puppets) and a childhood of wearing winter shoes made out of used bread sacks. It did, however, open up an opportunity for Lawson to find the humor in the strange shame spiral that is her life, and we are all the better for it.

Lawson’s long-suffering husband and sweet daughter are the perfect comedic foils to her absurdities, and help her to uncover the surprising discovery that the most terribly human moments-the ones we want to pretend never happened-are the very same moments that make us the people we are today.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is a poignantly disturbing, yet darkly hysterical tome for every intellectual misfit who thought they were the only ones to think the things that Lawson dares to say out loud. Like laughing at a funeral, this book is both irreverent and impossible to hold back once you get started.

Review:
I’ve loosely followed Jenny Lawson online for the last couple of years, generally since Beyonce the chicken went viral. So, I knew who she was going in. But honestly I only picked the book up because my book club chose it for the read this month. I opted for the audio version because I didn’t know that I would really feel invested in it otherwise. I don’t know if that would have been true or not, but I’m awful glad I got the audio. I think I got a lot more enjoyment out of hearing her tell her stories than I would have from reading them. Don’t get me wrong, she has a really recognizable voice, even when writing, but I’m glad I made the choice I did. I can always look at the pictures later. Surely someone will bring the actual book to our meeting next month.

I very much like the way Lawson set herself and her husband Viktor up as a double act or, what the Japanese would call Manzai. He’s the straight man, all reasonable and level headed and she’s the silly one, the funny (wo)man. Of course, it’s all from her perspective and a lot of her humor is at the expense of her own mental health, but it is still funny and endearing, as the affection for him (and eventually her daughter) definitely comes across.

In the beginning I was a little put off as the entries felt random. They were funny, but not much more. But eventually Lawson started pulling themes and life advice from the stories, which I thought went a long way toward making it feel less erratic. At times, the humor felt a bit contrived, like someone desperately seeking attention. But overall I enjoyed it.

All in all, good job book club. I wouldn’t have chosen it on my own, but I enjoyed it all the same.