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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The Handmaid's Tale New Book Review

The Handmaid's Tale. Margaret Atwood. 1985. 344 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: We slept in what had once been the gymnasium.

Premise/plot: The Handmaid's Tale is a dystopian classic by Margaret Atwood. It is narrated by a handmaid, Offred, and set in the Republic of Gilead. Offred, which is her new name not her birth name, remembers a time before--a time when women were free: free to work, free to manage their own money, free to read and write. Because she married a divorced man, when the change happened, her marriage became illegal--immoral. She was retrained/reschooled--taught by "Aunts" in how to be an obedient servant to the Republic. In her new role as handmaid, she will seek to bear the Commander's child. Different women are assigned different tasks. Some are for sex and the bearing of children. Some are for working. Only the poorest of men have econowives--one woman expected to do ALL the household work and tasks.

The novel definitely gives us an ALTERNATE 1980s.

My thoughts: I read this one not because it is a feminist classic but because it is a dystopian classic. I found it a compelling read for the most part. It was strange to see biblical themes appear and reappear throughout the novel in various ways--none of them exactly true to an actual biblical interpretation. It would be sad if readers actually assumed this is the Christian way of thinking and that to be a Christian means you want to live in the Republic of Gilead.

I believe it is written in stream of consciousness. Offred's recollections are mixed in generously with the here and now. It is only a sense--an intuition--that keeps readers discerning what is happening in the present and what may have happened last week, last month, last year, ten years ago. I followed it for the most part. I was swept up in the story. I would not want to be quizzed on the ins and outs of it. But it kept my attention.

A few weeks ago I reviewed We Set the Dark on Fire a novel that supposedly mirrors--for a young adult audience--The Handmaid's Tale. I found it lacking even before reading this one. It just isn't as thought-provoking or as substantive. The world building just isn't there. What the two do have in common is that towards the end the narrators become distracted sexually. Offred becomes enamored--filled with lust--for Nick. And Dani becomes obsessed with Carmen. One big difference between the two is that The Handmaid's Tale is a serious work of fiction that is carefully crafted throughout. We Set the Dark on Fire, on the other hand, has the mere potential to be a serious work. I wanted it to be a political, feminist WORK. I didn't want it to be a silly, flimsy work.

The Handmaid's Tale does leave DOZENS of unanswered questions. But it does so in a way that still builds the world up satisfactorily. The danger is real in Handmaid's Tale. It is never quite in We Set the Dark on Fire.

© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

from Becky's Book Reviews https://ift.tt/2TU3fe4 New Book Review

Monday, August 19, 2019

A Time Traveler's Theory of Relativity New Book Review

A Time  Traveler's Theory of Relativity. Nicole Valentine. 2019. 352 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence from the prologue: We lie to ourselves when necessary. Some of us are more convincing than others. My family has always been particularly good at it.

First sentence from chapter one: Finnegan Firth slid out of his bedroom window and padded on bare feet across the cold slate patio.

Premise/plot: Finn, our hero, believes that science holds the answers to everything. But he's forced to question and re-question everything he believes to be true after his grandmother's death. For the night she died, she revealed a huge family secret. The women in their family are travelers. Most have only ever been able to travel to the PAST. But in recent generations--notably his mother and grandmother--they have been able to travel to the future. (In fact the Grandma revealing the HUGE secret is not the Grandma from his time line. That Grandma is lying dead in bed as they speak.) She wants him to try to time travel via a portal that his mom created in order to help save his family from their current crisis. But does Finn have enough faith? Perhaps even enough faith to save FAITH? Who is Faith? Faith is his twin sister who disappeared--believed drowned--when they were three. Her body was never found. What would a great, noble, oh-so-dangerous quest be without a best friend? Finn's best friend is Gabi.

My thoughts: I loved, loved, LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this one. It was super-compelling and packed with action and intrigue. You should know that I tend to LOVE time travel stories. I do. I always have. I think my first exposure to time travel came via Star Trek and Star Trek the Next Generation. I have never really stopped being intrigued and fascinated by the concept of traveling to the past or the future.

I enjoyed the dual narrators. The second narrator--the one of the prologue--is super-spooky. Her voice is a haunting one. I wouldn't say it kept me reading--Finn's voice alone probably would have achieved the same thing--but it added a certain darkness or richness to the text overall.

“I don’t want to hear any ancient stories, Gran. I want to hear about now.” She studied him for a moment, her eyes narrowed. “Everything is now, dear boy. And make no mistake, things that happened before you were born have everything to do with who you are and what you do. So much of our lives are built on what happened before we even arrived. The past is never dead. It’s not even past. Faulkner said that.”

© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

from Becky's Book Reviews https://ift.tt/2ZdFBhC New Book Review

Friday, August 16, 2019

Thursday, August 15, 2019

TRUE CRIME THURSDAY- The Five:The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold- Feature and Review - Zahra's Book Review

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

One Fatal Mistake by Tom Hunt- Feature and Review - Zahra's Book Review


Her son accidentally kills a man.
They cover it up.
Then everything goes wrong.

When eighteen-year-old Joshua Mayo takes a man's life in a horrible accident, he leaves the scene without reporting the crime to the police. He hopes to put the awful night behind him and move on with his life. But, of course, he ends up telling his mother, Karen, what happened.

Karen has raised Joshua on her own in Cedar Rapids, Iowa--and she'd thought they'd finally made it. He was doing well in school and was only months from starting college. After hearing his dark confession, she is forced to make a choice no parent should have to make, one that draws them both into a web of deceit that will change their lives forever--if they make it out alive....



One Fatal MistakeOne Fatal Mistake by Tom Hunt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

One Fatal Mistake by Tom Hunt is a 2019 Berkley publication.

Tense, fast paced and compulsively readable-

Eighteen- year old Joshua Mayo is involved in a hit and run accident and is hoping to keep it covered up, especially from his mother, Karen. But, as mothers often do, Karen eventually learns the truth.

Meanwhile, a bank robbery goes horribly awry. The robbers, Ross and Amber, a married couple, fleeing with their booty, experience car trouble.

Inexplicably, Josh and Karen and Ross and Amber’s lives collide forcing Karen to do the unthinkable to save her son’s life.

There is never a dull moment in this emotional, high-octane thriller. It was very easy to get sucked into the saga, especially between Karen and her son. The story feels a little like a cautionary tale, although the main theme throughout is that of familial bonds and the lengths one might go to in order to save someone they love.

It is curious how we all set bars at different heights when it comes plausibility limits. I’m one who firmly believes that fiction should be given the benefit of the doubt, and that is especially true with thrillers. In this case, however, I felt I had to overlook a few too many improbabilities. Sometimes it was the dialogue I took issue with, and of course some of the scenarios and rationalizations didn’t seem realistic or make much sense to me.

Maybe try burning something that is not food on a grill, then putting hot items in a plastic trash bag- for example. What mother of an eighteen- year old son doesn’t know what PS4 stands for? And that ridiculous explanation Josh gave Karen for the damage to his car. Nope- that wouldn't have flown with me- at all.

Stupid little things like that got on my nerves a little bit. But, maybe I’m just being ticky-tacky today.

Despite that, the book is an edge of your seat thrill ride. Not only that, there is a somber, emotional edge to it, especially at the conclusion. No soft sell or slaps on the wrist. Still, I rooted for the characters, hoping that everything would work out for the best.

The author did a great job with putting the characters in situations that force the reader to consider how they might react under the same set of circumstances. That question is at the heart of the story more than anything else.

So, overall, this is a fast and easy read, and even though I balked at a few absurdities on several occasions, this is still a solid, entertaining crime drama.






Author of KILLER CHOICE and ONE FATAL MISTAKE. Born and raised in Iowa, always a Hawkeye, live in NYC now.

from The Book Review https://ift.tt/2MeL41y Zahra's Book Review

Monday, August 12, 2019

Friday, August 9, 2019

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Monday, August 5, 2019

Friday, August 2, 2019

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

July Reflections New Book Review

July # of Books
Becky's Book Reviews 20
Young Readers 19
Operation Actually Read Bible 9


# of Pages
Becky's Book Reviews 5699
Young Readers 1532
Operation Actually Read Bible 3082

Totals 10313

# of Books # of Pages
January 74 14571
February 58 10646
March 55 10974
April 63 11095
May 62 11932
June 51 8565
July 48 10313

Totals So Far

Books Read
Pages Read

New-to-Me Highlights

Reread Highlights

© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

from Becky's Book Reviews https://ift.tt/2SSAC06 New Book Review

Tuesday, July 30, 2019