Archive | June, 2022

Book Review: True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Caray (3/5)

30 Jun

I bought this book so long ago that I’m not confident where I got it. Based on the bookmark I found inside, I’m guessing it was at Dawn Treader Bookshop in Ann Arbor, MI. That place is an amazing place to get lost in for a few hours. I don’t know why it was on my TBR but I think it was before I found a copy. In my COVID-fuled effort to read my owned books, I’m glad I’m finally getting to this one!

Kelly

Cover image via Amazon

True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Caray

Summary from Amazon:

This is Ned Kelly’s true confession, in his own words and written on the run for an infant daughter he has never seen. To the authorities, this son of dirt-poor Irish immigrants was a born thief and, ultimately, a cold-blooded murderer; to most other Australians, he was a scapegoat and patriot persecuted by “English” landlords and their agents.

With his brothers and two friends, Kelly eluded a massive police manhunt for twenty months, living by his wits and strong heart, supplementing his bushwhacking skills with ingenious bank robberies while enjoying the support of most everyone not in uniform. He declined to flee overseas when he could, bound to win his jailed mother’s freedom by any means possible, including his own surrender. In the end, however, she served out her sentence in the same Melbourne prison where, in 1880, her son was hanged.

Still his country’s most powerful legend, Ned Kelly is here chiefly a man in full: devoted son, loving husband, fretful father, and loyal friend, now speaking as if from the grave. With this mythic outlaw and the story of his mighty travails and exploits, and with all the force of a classic Western, Peter Carey has breathed life into a historical figure who transcends all borders and embodies tragedy, perseverance, and freedom.

I read this book slowly and that took away from my enjoyment to be sure. Something about raising a child just eats up your time, huh? It took me a while to get used to the formatting. Since Ned doesn’t have a formal education, he doesn’t know proper grammar. Paragraphs have no periods, capitalization is lacking, and there’s no punctuation surrounding dialogue. It took some time and when I was away from this book for any extended time, it was an adjustment to return to it.

Ned felt real to me. It was easy to see how he became who is was based on his upbringing. I understand why the citizens were behind him and against the police. He becomes very sympathetic. Instead of feeling like an outlaw, he feels like Robin Hood and you feel bad for him. Joe, Dan, and Steve don’t receive the same treatment because this is Ned’s story, but you do feel like you can love them as well.

Ned was easy to love. You see how passionately he cares about his family and community. He has a very reasonable idea of justice and the reader can agree with him and want the same things as him. It makes sense that Dan, Joe, and Steve want to follow him and that the populace helps hide him. It would be hard to flesh out any other character the way he is without writing an epic.

It was hard to relate to many of Ned’s experiences. He had a very unique home life and his experiences with his father, step fathers, and father figures was very different from anything I’ve experienced. His hometown felt very ‘Wild West’ to me which is what I pictured since I’m unfamiliar with the Australian brush. It came off as an adventure story to me, so unfamiliar with the history of that area.

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Peter Caray Image via NPR

The time Ned was chased by the police toward the end is my most vivid memory of this book. It’s hard to say with confidence if it’s because I enjoyed that the most or because it’s most recent in my memory. I loved how much they thought out their crimes and how they would get the town on their side. It made robbery feel like a fun adventure, though one I don’t care to ever be a part of!

Ned’s late teens were very tumultuous. It was hard to read about his time in jail and his fights with his step fathers. Just when there was a glimmer of happiness for him, things would turn south. It felt like nothing was moving forward and that’s the part of the book that dragged for me. It’s hard to say if it was me being unable to empathize with him, or a lull in the story.

There was little recourse to find justice for Ned. He was discriminated against for being Irish and poor. He was forced to resort to criminality to defend his family when the law failed to do so. He was a sympathetic character and it’s easy to see why he was the people’s hero and the law’s enemy.

Writer’s Takeaway: The stylistic choices in this book were bold. The lack of grammatical structure took me out of the book at times and immersed me in it at others. I could hear Ned’s voice better and got deeper into his head, but I had to reread some lines and struggled to learn who was talking sometimes. I’m not sure I would ever write from a first person point of view and need to worry about that but it is a quandary of what to do to best bring out a character’s voice. Overall, I think Caray did it well and I liked getting to know Ned so well.

I had very mixed feelings on this book. Overall, Three out of Five Stars. It would be 3.5 if I did halves as I found it very enjoyable but it dragged some.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Related Posts:
Book Review – True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Caray | Kevin Stephany’s Critique Compendium
True History of the Kelly Gang, Peter Caray | The Chapteralist
True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Caray: Book Review | thebookybunhead

WWW Wednesday, 29-June-2022

29 Jun

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


51I9OngSemL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_Currently reading: I’m making decent progress with Into White by Randi Pink but not flying through it like I thought I might. The story is fine, maybe a little heavy handed at times. There’s a lot that’s unique about this story, but there’s also a lot that seems cliche and predictable. We’ll see how it wraps up.
I finally started Rebeldes (The Outsiders) by S.E. Hinton! I know it will be slow because it’s a lot of concentration for me to read in another language. It does help that this is written for a YA audience so the reading level is appropriate for me. We’ll see how it goes.
I needed a new ebook and settled on up Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling). I know there’s controversy surrounding this book so I’m a little apprehensive to see what that’s all about. I’m not very far in yet and trying to remember what had happened in the previous book still. I hope it comes back to me soon.

KellyRecently finished: I know it may seem hard to believe, but I finished True History of The Kelly Gang by Peter Carey! I remembered the end of the Ned Kelly movie I’ve seen so I knew I was getting close to a good conclusion in the book and powered through the ending. It was enjoyable and it feels so good to finally have finished it!
I flew through Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald – The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling. I remembered that screenplays move quickly, but I forgot they moved this quickly! I had a good chunk of time on Friday and wrapped this up quickly! The review might be a bit delayed, but I’ll get to it soon-ish.

AND I wrote two reviews! This has been one of my most productive weeks since the little one was born. I reviewed Where the Light Enters by Sara Donati on Monday. This was an okay read for me, but it didn’t get me excited enough to want to read the (eventual) third book in the series. I can happily put this one to rest. I gave it Three out of Five Stars.
I also reviewed A House at the Bottom of a Lake by Josh Malerman this week, my review going up on Tuesday. This was a fun, quick read that I powered through while rocking baby to sleep. Four out of Five Stars from me.

15850930Reading next: I’ve just started so many books that it’s hard to think about this! It will probably be an audiobook that I need next. I got a copy of Dollface by Renée Rosen when I needed to use up some Google Play Store money and I think I’ll grab that next. It’s been a while since I enjoyed a 1920s novel!

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Book Review: A House at the Bottom of a Lake by Josh Malerman (4/5)

28 Jun

I must have added this book to my list after enjoying Bird Box so thoroughly. Malerman is quite prolific and I was glad to find a quick story to enjoy. This was perfect to pick up on my phone as I rocked the baby to sleep. Though having a horror story and reading it in the dark might not be the best combination.

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Cover image via Amazon

A House at the Bottom of a Lake by Josh Malerman

Other books by Malerman reviewed on this blog:

Bird Box

Summary from Amazon:

The story begins: young lovers, anxious to connect, agree to a first date, thinking outside of the box.

At seventeen years old, James and Amelia can feel the rest of their lives beginning. They have got this summer and this summer alone to experience the extraordinary.

But they didn’t expect to find it in a house at the bottom of a lake.

The house is cold and dark, but it’s also their own.

Caution be damned, until being carefree becomes dangerous. For the teens must decide: swim deeper into the house—all the while falling deeper in love?

Whatever they do, they will never be able to turn their backs on what they discovered together. And what they learned:

Just because a house is empty, doesn’t mean nobody’s home.

Again, Malerman has a lovely slow burn to his stories. This didn’t feel like a horror story at first but you could tell something was brewing. It didn’t take long for it to start to feel creepy and strange, but nothing had me squirming until about 25% in when I was freaked out! Amelia and James’ story was really fun to follow and I enjoyed how their relationship changed with the house. You knew something was coming but it took time to figure out what.

Amelia and James seemed real to me. They felt like teenagers and I got the feeling they could even be here in my native Michigan (also native to the author). The only part that seemed a bit off was how quickly they acquired SCUBA gear and became proficient. It seemed a bit convenient but understandably important to the story.

I liked James best. He seemed the most level headed of the two. Especially as time went on and he started to question what was happening. Amelia was so engrossed in their experiences and enthralled and she didn’t want to know why or how, but James started to see through it.

The young love part of their story was easy to relate to and I think many people experience it to some degree in their youth. You questioned if they were in love with each other, the house, or novelty. At first, it can be hard to tell. A summer fling is a common story, but one that involves a mystical house is way more fun.

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Josh Malerman Image via Nelson Literary Agency

I enjoyed the middle of the book as they were exploring the house most and were learning the limits of what they could explore and experience. You weren’t sure when things were going to turn bad, but you knew they would. The tension was wonderful and kept me reading fast.

I wanted one more chapter at the end, just to learn a little bit more about what was happening. I guess that’s part of the suspense and tension, that it ended when it did. I appreciated the story and how in a sense it didn’t end even though I didn’t know what happened next. I swiped to the next screen expecting just a paragraph more and felt a tinge of disappointment.

I’m not sure I can identify too many themes in this one besides the young love I mentioned before. Amelia and James experienced something outside the realm of what one can expect to experience that we can’t judge their reactions against our own. I don’t know what I’d do if I found a house at the bottom of a lake. I’d probably write a book about it.

Writer’s Takeaway: The tension built slowly in this book. In a small number of pages, Malerman gave us a great sense that something was amiss and was about to go wrong. While I don’t write in this genre, all stories build to a climax and keeping the story learning forward, pushing to that ending, is a great skill to have. I want to keep reading Malerman stories and I have another on my list I’m itching for now.

A great quick read that kept me on the edge of my seat. Four out of Five Stars

This book fulfills the 2000-Present time period of the When Are You Reading? Challenge.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Related Posts:
A House at the Bottom of a Lake by Josh Malerman | The Book Lover’s Boudoir
‘A House at the Bottom of a Lake’ Josh Malerman | I Swoon Over Fictional Men
A House at the Bottom of a Lake, by Josh Malerman | Book Reviews to Ponder
Book Review: A House at the Bottom of a Lake by Josh Malerman | Sarah’s Corner

Book Review: Where The Light Enters by Sara Donati (3/5)

27 Jun

I listened to the first book in this series a few years ago and I remembered feeling a bit frustrated at the end when it was clear that the story wasn’t over. After such a long book, that wasn’t the feeling I wanted. But I’d enjoyed the writing and the the characters and decided to put the second book on my TBR. I remembered a lot of the story when I picked this one up. I’m not sure I’ll give a third installment another try.

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Cover image via Amazon

Where the Light Enters (Waverly Place #2) by Sara Donati

Other books by Donati reviewed on this blog:

The Gilded Hour (Waverly Place #1)

Summary from Amazon:

Obstetrician Dr. Sophie Savard returns home to the achingly familiar rhythms of Manhattan in the early spring of 1884 to rebuild her life after the death of her husband. With the help of Dr. Anna Savard, her dearest friend, cousin, and fellow physician she plans to continue her work aiding the disadvantaged women society would rather forget.

As Sophie sets out to construct a new life for herself, Anna’s husband, Detective-Sergeant Jack Mezzanotte calls on them both to consult on two new cases: the wife of a prominent banker has disappeared into thin air, and the corpse of a young woman is found with baffling wounds that suggest a killer is on the loose.  In New York it seems that the advancement of women has brought out the worst in some men. Unable to ignore the plight of New York’s less fortunate, these intrepid cousins draw on all resources to protect their patients.

I had really mixed feelings on this book. The characters are well drawn and I felt I enjoyed the plot that was shared. However, it dragged far too much for me. Each scene, I wondered to myself ‘Is this really relevant?’ There was so much detail that it dragged on and on and on. This was a 26 hour audiobook and I feel like I could summarize it verbally in less than a minute.

Donati’s characters are wonderfully drawn. I felt like I knew them well and they had some nice nuances. However, I’m not sold on them as a whole. I felt there were far too many characters and some had minimal or no role in this part of the story. Ned and Bambina barley showed up at all, for example. Maybe Donati has bigger plans for them later, but they were pointless in this book and I felt overwhelmed remembering all the names of the characters in this book. Also, I felt the mentalities of the characters were far ahead of their times and it took me out of the setting far too often. Yes there were many side characters and antagonists who seemed to fit the time period, but most of the main characters had very 21st Century views in the middle of the 1800s.

Anna was the easiest character to like. It felt like she took more of a backseat in this installment than she had in the previous book where she was the main focus. Sophie shown more in this book and while I liked her, she also felt incomplete to me. A bit part of Anna and Sophie’s identities are being doctors and Sophie wasn’t working in this book. I think she was meant to feel a bit adrift after Cap’s death but it didn’t make for a very compelling lead character.

Without giving away a moment that was meant to feel like a big reveal but didn’t hit too hard, I did have a moment I related to Anna. Like her, I value my career a lot and am proud of how hard I worked to get to where I am. She has accomplished a lot and is right to be proud of it and what she’s been able to accomplish.

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Sara Donati Image via Penguin Books

There wasn’t a part of this book I particularly enjoyed. I think that’s a part of why it didn’t wow me. The ending was exciting as the team made progress on the murders that plagued the first book. However, it was so slow and drawn out that it felt like a relief to finally get there and less like an exciting conclusion.

Tonino’s plot line was a huge disappointment to me. The first book focused on him so much and developed him so much, and it seemed to come to nothing. I don’t see how his story developed his sisters, either. I find the two girls interchangeable and I forget often which is which. After being such a focus of the first book, they seemed like an afterthought and inconvenience to the author in this book.

The audiobook was read by Kate Reading, a different narrator than the first book. This isn’t something I run into frequently so I wonder why the change was made. However, I’ve listened to books narrated by Reading before and I enjoy her as a narrator. She did voices for all the characters well and kept the story full of emotion and as much suspense as possible for the duration. I now wonder which of the two will get an eventual third installment.

The story focuses a lot on medicine and disease. I’m thinking specifically of Tonino and Nora, both of whom are seen as incurable and are treated very differently. How we care for the ill varies depending on their age, condition, and history. As doctors, Sophie and Anna treat everyone but these characters make us call into question why car differs and the justice of it. Is Nora less deserving of care because of her past actions and beliefs? It’s hard to say because of what she’s done and what’s been done to her. It’s a good moral quandary for a book, but maybe not one this long.

Writer’s Takeaway: This book was a lesson in length. There was way too much going on in this book and I think a lot of it could have been cut. Characters could be cut, scenes, and subplots. As rich as the world was, it was at the expense of my interest. I felt pulled in so many directions, I didn’t know where to look and it ended up being exhausting.

In the end it had it’s ups and downs, but I think I’m done with this series. Three out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Related Posts:
Blog Tour – New Release Book Review: Where the Light Enters by Sara Donati | Mrs B’s Book Reviews
REVIEW: Where the Light Enters by Sara Donati | Sam Still Reading
Review & Giveaway: Where the Light Enters by Sara Donati | Book’d Out
Review of “Where the Light Enters” (The Waverly Place Series #2) by Sara Donati | Courtney Reads Romance

WWW Wednesday, 22-June-2022

22 Jun

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


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Currently reading: This has been a really great week! I made some progress in True History of The Kelly Gang by Peter Carey, mostly because I’m really determined to finish it soon. Hopefully I will, but it’s still a matter of finding some time to read before bed which isn’t always an option right now.
I started two new titles this week! The first is Into White by Randi Pink. This is a free audiobook I picked up a few years ago. I’m not completely sold on it yet, but I’m making good progress. I’m afraid it’s going to feel a little heavy handed at the end which may change how I feel about it.
I also started Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald – The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling. This is my ebook right now. I’m hoping it reads quickly, as those are the best types of ebooks. I’ve found time to read while I nurse my baby so we’ll see how long that holds up until they figure out what I’m doing.

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Recently finished: I wrapped up Where the Light Enters by Sara Donati! This was a monster of an audiobook so I’m so glad to say I’ve finished it. I’m working on a review, hopefully for next week.
I finished an ebook! Can you believe it? I wrapped up A House at the Bottom of a Lake by Josh Malerman in the middle of the night when Little One woke up and just needed to be held for a bit. Reading this horror story in the middle of the night might not have been one of my best ideas, but I avoided nightmares so I’m still calling it a win.

51I9OngSemL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_Reading next: I keep looking at Rebeldes (The Outsiders) by S.E. Hinton on my shelf because I really want to read it. It’s helping keep me motivated to move through my books.

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

WWW Wednesday, 15-June-2022

15 Jun

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


51FUsCV0vdL

Currently reading: I read about three pages from True History of The Kelly Gang by Peter Carey which is the most I’ve read in a while, sadly. I’m not sure why physical book time has dropped from my routine. I’ll see if I can make it a priority again this week and make some movement.
I’ve got two hours left Where the Light Enters by Sara Donati. Strangely, that doesn’t feel like a lot with how long this book is! I’m hoping I can finish it this month.
I’m trying to push myself to pick up A House at the Bottom of a Lake by Josh Malerman more and it seems to be working! It helps that this is such a short book. I’m almost half way through it already!

Recently finished: None this week. However, I’m feeling more optimistic than normal that I can get a book or two here in the next few weeks. We’ll see how I do!

51I9OngSemL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_Reading next: Knowing that my next physical book is Rebeldes (The Outsiders) by S.E. Hinton is pushing me to finish Kelly Gang a bit faster. I’ve been wanting to reread this for ages!

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

WWW Wednesday, 8-June-2022

8 Jun

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Kelly

Currently reading: No movement in True History of The Kelly Gang by Peter Carey this week. I got food poisonings and have been slow to recover from it. Sleep has been hard for me so reading before I fall asleep has not been a priority.
I got through a pretty good chunk of Where the Light Enters by Sara Donati. I haven’t been running much, but I did have a doctor’s appointment that was a fair drive and got me a lot of listening time. So there’s positives to everything, right?
I read a little bit more from A House at the Bottom of a Lake by Josh Malerman. I thought it wasn’t much but with how short this book is, it made a decent impact! I’m curious how fast I’ll get through this one.

Recently finished: Nothing new finished. However, my review of The Girl with Ghost Eyes by M.H. Boroson went up on Monday. Go check it out!

51I9OngSemL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_Reading next: I’ll grab Rebeldes (The Outsiders) by S.E. Hinton as a physical book next. Though I’m starting to think I’ll need an audiobook or ebook sooner than a physical one.

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Book Review: The Girl with Ghost Eyes by M.H. Boroson (2/5)

6 Jun

This was a book my sister in law got for me for Christmas one year. These books aren’t ones I’ve asked for so it’s always a surprise what the title will be. I decided to tackle this one as an ebook because of it’s availability and that might have been to it’s detriment. I read ebooks very slowly, that’s always been the case with me. But this one was particularly slow. It took me about 10 months.

GhostThe Girl with Ghost Eyes by M.H. Boroson

Summary from Amazon:

It’s the end of the nineteenth century in San Francisco’s Chinatown, and ghost hunters from the Maoshan traditions of Daoism keep malevolent spiritual forces at bay. Li-lin, the daughter of a renowned Daoshi exorcist, is a young widow burdened with yin eyes—the unique ability to see the spirit world. Her spiritual visions and the death of her husband bring shame to Li-lin and her father—and shame is not something this immigrant family can afford.

When a sorcerer cripples her father, terrible plans are set in motion, and only Li-lin can stop them. To aid her are her martial arts and a peachwood sword, her burning paper talismans, and a wisecracking spirit in the form of a human eyeball tucked away in her pocket. Navigating the dangerous alleys and backrooms of a male-dominated Chinatown, Li-lin must confront evil spirits, gangsters, and soulstealers before the sorcerer’s ritual summons an ancient evil that could burn Chinatown to the ground.

At times, I felt this book assumed a lot of knowledge of Daoism and also info-dumped about Daoism. I can’t put my finger on exactly what the right balance would have been, but it felt inauthentic. It was also no surprise to me that the writer wasn’t female because Li-lin’s voice sounded inauthentic as well. Some people can write other genders without issue but unfortunately this wasn’t the case. Overall, it didn’t feel like this was the right story for the author to tell and it left me feeling detached.

The voice for Li-lin felt hollow. She didn’t seem to go deep enough into feelings that should have been triggering, even for someone trying to repress some of her feelings. She also seemed to be very observant and then miss obvious things which was inconsistent. She didn’t give off a very believable vibe. Since she was really the only character and voice we got, it was hard to believe in her.

I didn’t like any of the characters, which made this book hard. Besides Li-lin, we don’t get a lot of characters to latch onto. Her father, the spirit of his eye, and a handful of gang members are the only other characters we meet. None of them are fleshed out very well so it seems silly to say I liked any of them most.

I struggled to relate to Li-lin. The most relatable part about her was her love for her husband but he dies before the book starts which is harder for me to relate to. The magical elements of this book were too far removed from anything I’m familiar with for me to feel like it was the same world I live in.

4unvl994ct5r1d3kto10r3f1fp._SX450_I thought the book was paced well. It kept moving and didn’t seem to have any slow spots. Li-lin was a person of action and she kept pushing forward, even when things were hard. I didn’t put this book down because I was bored at any point.

The ending was rough for me. The big fight scene had a significant death in it which Li-lin seems to brush under the rug. Honestly, I forgot it happened at one point because of a pause in my reading and how little she reacts. That tinged how I felt about the book and I was frustrated as I finished it the rest of the way.

There didn’t seem to be much of a theme or message in this book. Li-lin pushed forward when things were hard but that’s about all I got from it. Maybe my lack of knowledge of late 1800s life in the US Chinatowns is to blame for not picking up on nuances of Li-lin’s struggle, but I’d also hope the author could have highlighted those more if they were relevant.

Writer’s Takeaway: This book focused so much on action that the characters suffered. I was hoping for some insights about the time period and culture and instead I got a kung fu book. For the same reasons that ‘shoot ’em up’ movies aren’t for everyone, this writing isn’t for everyone. I think it could have benefited from some more character development and emotions.

Overall, this fell really flat for me. Two out of Five Stars.

This book fulfilled the 1800-1899 time period of the When Are You Reading? Challenge.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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WWW Wednesday, 1-June-2022

1 Jun

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


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Currently reading: I don’t think I read anything in True History of The Kelly Gang by Peter Carey this week. It was a holiday weekend and I spent a lot of time with family and was happy-exhausted to a point I didn’t read. It was a great time!
Similarly, I didn’t listen to much in Where the Light Enters by Sara Donati either. I think I hit 75%. I feel like I’ll finish this one up soon once I can find some time to run again.
I was able to start A House at the Bottom of a Lake by Josh Malerman! This is a really quick read and I’m already 10% done after picking it up twice. I hadn’t realized it was so short which will be a welcome change.

Recently finished: Nothing new finished this week. I’ll have my review of The Girl with Ghost Eyes posted on Monday so be on the look out for that!

51I9OngSemL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_Reading next: My plan is still to pick up Rebeldes (The Outsiders) by S.E. Hinton as soon as I can regularly find time for my physical book again.

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.