Thursday, July 26, 2018

The Invasion Of The Tearling

That ending was amazing. The Invasion of the Tearling had me reading past my bedtime a lot. Last night was no exception. I was only going to read for 20 minutes before going to sleep, since I was planning on getting up early, but nope. I couldn't put the book down. I finished it and it was fantastic. One of my predictions happened, but that's okay, because there were a few surprises waiting too.

Queen Kelsea Raleigh Glynn is amazing. She's changing and growing. She is trying to be the best queen she can be. She is trying to save her people. She also wishes she could just be a regular young woman. Kelsea is only 19 and she wants to be 19, which comes with its own emotional turmoil.

I'm a little in love with Pen. I wish I could get to know him more. He is the Queen's Shield, fiercely loyal and truly cares for her. Pen has done his own growing and changing. He tries to deal with his emotions, but not in a way that really works. I am hoping we get to spend more time with him. I also hope he ends up happy.

Lily Mayhew was certainly an interesting and important storyline. As soon as Tear appeared, I knew who she was though. She is so important. I wish Kelsea and Lily could have interacted more. I feel like Lily is the key. I hated her husband. I loved her bodyguard. I think they had the potential to be best friends.

Also, what happened between Row Finn and the Fetch? What will happen? What will happen between Finn and Kelsea, and Fetch and Kelsea? Who is Kelsea's father? Does it matter? There are so many questions by the end of the book. Invasion of the Tearling is the quintessential "middle book". There's growth, action, a bit of set up, a few new characters, and a cliffhanger. I appreciate that the ending gives me room to breathe though. I'm still thinking about it and I know it's will not be long before I finish off the series, but the ending didn't drive me crazy. I'm excited to see what Erika Johansen has in store for her readers.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions

Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was a quick, fun read, but also deeply thoughtful and a bit life-affirming. Adichie wrote the book first as a response to an email from her friend about how to raise a feminist daughter. I’d like to think I’m raising a feminist daughter and son, but am I? I opened this book not just as a reader, but as a parent. I was very interested to see if Adichie’s advice matched some of the choices I have made.

The 15 suggestions that she outlines are so detailed, some to me are so obvious. Not for raising a “feminist daughter”, but for raising a good human. I recently “suggested” to a pregnant friend not to raise her kid to be an a$$hole, as a boy was a super jerk at my son’s soccer game a few weeks ago. She agreed that this should be the basic goal of every parent. After experiencing life as a parent, I don’t always think this is true. I try to not judge other parents, but sometimes I definitely do.

Adichie addresses judgment in her letter. She also talks about gender roles and marriage. I honestly loved this little book. The 15 suggestions are impactful, but also assured me of many of the choices I have made. I borrowed it from the library, but I feel like I want a copy of my own. Something I can refer back to, something I can share with my children when they are older.

While I think the "letter" was fun, it was also serious, but told in such a way that you don’t notice. The tone is light, as though it really is a letter from a friend giving you advice. I could disect each of the 15 suggestions, but I'm not going to. Instead, I am going to keep them within me and share them with people I know. Even if you don’t have a daughter, or don’t have children, this is something you should definitely read.

Monday, July 16, 2018

The Scorpio Races

The Scorpio Races grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. Maggie Steifvater created a story that was magical, but grounded. There was so much sadness, yet remarkable moments of joy. I wanted more. I want to know more about the Connellys. I want more of Holly. I want more of Thisby. The Scorpio Races has left me with one of the biggest book hangovers in a long time. I can't stop thinking about Puck and Sean.

Puck Connelly had me all the way through the story. Her story was compelling and uncompromising. She was brilliant and a force that swept its way through the island. I loved her determination. She was young, but also a woman. We watch her learn and grow and leave the girl she was behind. She was the heart of The Scorpio Races.

Sean Kendrick was its strength. He was “an old 19”. Sean had been through so much in his life. After so much time, he thought he had everything figured out. But nope. Even an old 19 doesn’t have everything figured out, because he is still only 19. Life may have had him grow up early, as with Puck, but it’s not done with either of them. Sean, with severe determination, perseveres against everything working against him.

The characters worked so well in this story. But the setting, the island, seemed to be a character too. Thisby had its own personality. It stormed as storms brewed among the residents. It welcomed them with calm mornings and gave them what they were asking for in the middle of the night. I would love to read more stories, not just of the characters I’ve already met, but ones that take place on the island. Maybe of when the Races first started, maybe of a race 20 years later. I’m interested in a race Benjamin Malvern was in. Maybe a race that Holly decides to enter. There are so many stories that can be told, not just of ones with Puck and Sean.

So, I’ve read Steifvater’s Raven Cycle and now, The Scorpio Races, I wonder what The Wolves of Mercy Falls will have in store for me.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Anne of Avonlea

Another trip to Prince Edward Island, another book in the Anne of Green Gables series read. I loved Anne of Avonlea. Anne is more grown up, though only 16 at the start of the novel. She, Gilbert Blythe, and two other friends have returned from Redmond College to take up teaching positions. Anne and Gilbert teach their students and along with their friends Diana and Fred, form the Avonlea Village Improvement Society. 

Anne and Diana’s friendship grows and matures, as they do. Anne is very much treated as an adult, she teaches, and she helps Marilla raise children. Talk of marriage surrounds her. It’s a bit strange to me, as by the end of the story, she is just 17. It seems like she has a lot of responsibility at her age, though admittedly, it was a different time then. There are also different opinions on whether Anne needs more schooling. Some residents of Avonlea Village say, no. Though she wants to go back to school, Anne loves teaching. Her students love her. She loves them. She takes her work very seriously, feeling deeply for each pupil. Were people really so mature as teenagers at the beginning of the last century?

Though I fully enjoyed the story, watching Anne and the residents of Avonlea grow, I wish there was a bit more plot. Anne of Avonlea seems to be a snippet of Anne’s life for the two years between Anne of Green Gables and Anne of the Island. A lot of exciting, surprising, interesting things happen, but I didn’t really feel a thread that held them all together. In a weird way, it makes me want to read Anne of the Island more. With how this book ends, there is so much bound to happen in the next one.

Monday, July 09, 2018

The Surgeon

The Surgeon is the first novel in the Rizzoli and Isles series by Tess Gerritsen. It was recommended to me not just as a reader, but as something to read as a writer. Gerritsen creates compelling, multidimensional characters that you love and hate at the same time. She weaves subplots easily into the main storyline. She creates surprises. The pace is amazing. A 350 page paperback does not take a lot of time to read, as the story grips you.

Characters are always what keeps me reading a story. I really connected with Catherine Cordell and Thomas Moore. They were amazing. Catherine was so quietly strong and defiant. She went through something horrible, beyond horrible, and though it took time, she worked through it. I loved Detective Moore. He was strong, caring and vulnerable. He was practically the perfect man, though his flaws made him seem more real. I was drawn to him, wanting to know his reactions and his thoughts on everything.

Then there was Jane Rizzoli. I disliked her, but admired her. She was a woman working in a man's world. She endured mean-spirited pranks, and purposefully being left out. She was full of resentment, family issues and had a chip on her shoulder the size of a boulder. As I was reading the novel, I couldn't believe this was the character the series would be based on. Yet, I could also understand it. More than Catherine and Moore, Rizzoli has the most room to grow. She learned about herself and others in this novel, and I'm interested to see what else she learns.

I haven't seen the Rizzoli and Isles television show. I watched way too many police procedurals, and I'm still not over it. That being said, I've seen the actress who plays Rizzoli on the show. Angie Harmon is gorgeous and tall, with beautiful hair. That is not what the Rizzoli of the novels looked like. Of course, they changed it for television. But that's not the only difference. In the first Rizzoli and Isles novel, there is NO ISLES. Where is she? When does she enter the series? In the next novel, right? So, while I might not be watching police dramas, I will definitely be reading them. One book and I know I will read more about Jane Rizzoli and hopefully soon be reading about Maura Isles.