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Book Review: Expecting Better by Emily Oster (4/5)

6 Apr

When we found out I was pregnant, my husband very sweetly ordered me a copy of this book. He knows I’m an anxious person and didn’t want to get me a pregnancy book that detailed all the horrible things that could happen when you’re pregnant. Instead, he focused on a realistic, data-based information and that’s exactly what Oster delivers. It’s even better that she has a sense of humor about it.

Better

Cover image via Amazon

Expecting Better: Why the Conventional pregnancy Wisdom is Wrong- and What You Really Need to Know by Emily Oster

Summary from Amazon:

Pregnancy—unquestionably one of the most pro­found, meaningful experiences of adulthood—can reduce otherwise intelligent women to, well, babies. Pregnant women are told to avoid cold cuts, sushi, alcohol, and coffee without ever being told why these are forbidden. Rules for prenatal testing are similarly unexplained. Moms-to-be desperately want a resource that empowers them to make their own right choices.

When award-winning economist Emily Oster was a mom-to-be herself, she evaluated the data behind the accepted rules of pregnancy, and discovered that most are often misguided and some are just flat-out wrong. Debunking myths and explaining everything from the real effects of caffeine to the surprising dangers of gardening, Expecting Better is the book for every pregnant woman who wants to enjoy a healthy and relaxed pregnancy—and the occasional glass of wine.

This book was refreshing. It’s great to hear that a lot of the ‘rules’ of pregnancy, while founded, are a bit overdramatic. I’d been avoiding even a sip of beer and longing for a Jersey Mike’s sandwich for the past five months and it was refreshing to learn why I’d been told to avoid these things. Oster is a very intelligent woman (I get why she didn’t put Dr. on the cover, but PhD would have been founded!). Her knowledge of medical research and ability to read into it helped me make some decisions about how I’d behave during my pregnancy that I feel a lot more comfortable with. I check the mercury levels of a fish before I order it, but I also demand a sip of my husband’s wine while we’re visiting Michigan wine country.

Oster bases her book on her first pregnancy with her daughter. She takes you through the decisions she and her husband were faced with at each step and it was easy for me to follow along. I’m in my second trimester and had all the memories of conception and first trimester, while sharing her fears of third trimester and labor. She’s highly relatable and her audience can easily find themselves saying “Yes, exactly!” while reading. She portrayed herself in a favorable yet relatable light that was fun to read.

Oster

Emily Oster Image via the author’s website

I enjoyed her deep dive into food restrictions, which is something I’ve struggled with. I’ve reduced my caffeine intake, but there’s some nights that baby kicking keeps me up and I need that second cup of tea. I’m worried about hurting baby! But reading her research and understanding where limits are made me feel a lot better. The same goes for the occasional sip of wine (I’m writing this from the hotel of my Babymoon in Michigan wine country) though I avoid a whole glass as Oster prefers. Undercooked eggs are a favorite of mine (over easy is the BEST) so understanding the risks of having an over easy egg were great, rather than avoiding them completely. I feel good about having one now that I’m in my second trimester, though I probably would have avoided it earlier on in pregnancy!

The section on weight gain was difficult for me to read. I’ve always been hard on myself about my weight and I ditched scales completely about four years ago because they were creating an unhealthy obsession. I’ve finally gotten to a good place and have felt good about my weight and body image. Then came pregnancy where I’m weighed all the time and people have judgements to make about how much weight I’ve gained. It’s very stressful for me and Oster’s section increased that stress level. I’m not looking forward to my doctor’s opinions on my weight gain or lack there of. I eat when I’m hungry and I can tell when Baby started to need more food so I feed them. I’m staying as active as I can and have been eating healthy. If that’s not enough, so be it. I liked the conclusion Oster eventually came to, but the process stressed me out!

Oster wanted to take control of her pregnancy and I really enjoyed hearing about how she did that. I think the ‘rules’ she researched were ones that a lot of woman accept without question and I was glad to learn the reasons why. Some of them are blanketly applied unnecessarily and it was helpful to understand why these rules exited and how they would apply specifically to me and my pregnancy.

Writer’s Takeaway: Using her personal experience made this book very relatable. If Oster had not used anecdotal experience or followed her own questions and decisions about pregnancy, it would have come off as a cold list of facts about pregnancy myths instead of an intimate story that read like a memoir at times. She connected well with her audience.

This was a great book to read during pregnancy and helped me understand the wisdom and folly of pregnancy rules that I should follow. Four 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: 
Emily Oster’s new book “Expecting Better” challenged by FASD experts | CanFASD 
Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom is Wrong- and What You Really Need to Know | Ready Mommy’s Book Reviews 
Expecting Better- By Emily Oster | Rambling Writer 
Expecting Better | MeReader 

Book Review: The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (5/5)

29 Mar

I’m not sure how my reading buddy and I are so consistently lucky to find amazing books. We found a real gem with this one. I shouldn’t be so surprised with the press this one has gathered and that it was the top seller of 2020 at my local bookstore. What an engrossing read.

Half

Cover image via Amazon

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Summary from Amazon:

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Many years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?

Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.

The characters Bennett created in this one are really remarkable and made me fall in love with the book early. It’s tough to decide how you feel about Desiree or Jude from the beginning, but I loved Early almost immediately. Then you learn about Jude as an adult and her amazing relationship with Reece and by then, I was head over heels with these people. I’m never sure how I feel about Stella and Desiree but the supporting characters were easy enough to love that you wanted to keep reading about everyone. The story became a lot less about Desiree by the end and I didn’t even mind.

The characters in this book felt very real to me. Especially Desiree and Jude. I felt that the struggles they had were very grounded in the reality I’m familiar with. The things Reece and Stella went through were a little more niche but the story was told in such a way that you cared and sympathized with them. I thought it was really incredible what Bennett was able to do with this story and a situation that seems so otherworldly at times. I really applaud her storytelling skills.

Reece ended up being my favorite character. He was so loving and devoted to Jude that it broke my heart. I think his struggle to love himself was one of the best arcs of the novel and I loved how he let Jude in and let her help him in the end. I was always rooting for them and when I thought things weren’t going to work out, I was devastated. I think Reece was a great character to parallel Stella and talk about a chosen identity in another way that worked well.

I found myself relating best to Jude. Maybe it’s because I feel like I knew Kennedy growing up, or because I went off to college on my own or because she was a determined woman. She was a great character and I liked her arc of finding a place she fit in and learning to love who she is no matter what others think of her skin. Her relationship with Barry was great and I think a big part of how she came to be as confident as she was.

Bennett

Brit Bennett Image via Wikipedia

Jude’s time in California was my favorite. I liked how she developed relationships with Reece and Barry while she was in school. How hard she worked to balance school, track, and job was amazing and I respected her so much and fully believed she’d crush med school with that work ethic.

Stella’s story was a bit hard to read at times. You want to feel bad for her because she’s clearly depressed, but something held me back from sympathizing with her. I think it was because I felt like she abandoned her family and I didn’t understand how a person could do that. I also didn’t understand how she could bite her tongue and lie to Kennedy the way she did. It started to upset me by the end.

So much of Stella and Desiree’s lives hinged on how they were perceived. This started to branch out to the people around them. Jude was viewed unfavorably by her classmates because her skin was dark. Kennedy and Reece struggled with how they saw themselves and it affected relationships they had for much of their lives. There were a lot of parallels in this book. Most obvious was Stella and Desiree but Reece and Stella were very similar. Early and Jude had a lot in common as well.

Writer’s Takeaway: Bennett didn’t hesitate to write about things that can be hard to talk about. She wrote about race, gender identity, and abuse without holding back. As a white woman, this book helped me empathize and realize the choices some people make to change how I perceive them and how influential that can be. I think hearing more stores from people who have different experiences than me helps me realize what can and should change in our world.

This book really took me for a ride and I enjoyed it a lot. Five 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:
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The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett | Of Books and Reading

Book Review: Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies by Deborah Halverson (3/5)

16 Mar

After having so much success with Writing Fiction for Dummies, I wanted to see what other knowledge I could flush out of the series and kept this Dummies book on my radar. I’m glad I did because there was some good insight here into how the YA market is different. Halverson also focuses on some other parts of the life of a writer that Ingermanson and Economy didn’t touch upon which I found helpful.

Cover image via Amazon

Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies by Deborah Halverson

Summary from Amazon:

With young adult book sales rising, and bestselling authors like J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer exploding onto the scene, aspiring YA writers are more numerous than ever. Are you interested in writing a young adult novel, but aren’t sure how to fit the style that appeals to young readers?

Writing Young Adult Fiction For Dummies gives you tricks of the trade and proven tips on all the steps to write a YA book, from developing an idea to publication.

  • Unique writing exercises to help you find your own authentic teen voice
  • Tips to avoid when submitting manuscripts
  • How to break into the flourishing young adult market

With the help of this step-by-step guide, you’ll have all the skills to write an inspiring and marketable young adult novel.

Some of this book was great and really helpful while others seemed to be a bit too much of a personal experience to be really helpful. Halverson’s opening chapters about finding motivation and time to write were very generic. I would have appreciated them more if this had been my first book on writing and not my third. I was really looking for YA-specific advice and this wasn’t filling that need. When she started talking about MG and YA differences and how to get past a gatekeeper, I was intrigued. Halverson gives a lot of solid advice about the submission process as well which I don’t remember other books giving as much detail about and I appreciated that.

Deborah Halverson
Image via LinkedIn

Halverson had some good advice about things to add or exclude from a YA novel to help not only appeal to young adults but to be a book that adults will want young adults to read. I don’t remember hearing a lot of advice with this bend before and I liked it. For example, don’t avoid romance but don’t include anything sexually graphic. While teens might be intrigued, no librarian is going to hand a fifteen-year-old a book with that content. She breaks down the YA market into understandable age groups as well and will talk about when different topics are more or less appropriate.

Halverson’s advice on the process of writing seemed very vague and personal at the same time. She had descriptions of what worked for her and how she finished her novels. However, she was also somewhat vague about the process of outlining, how to do revisions and character motivations. I might be making unfair comparisons because Ingermanson and Economy did this so well that anything else was doomed to feel like it fell short.

Halverson is a professional writer and her advice is for those looking to make writing a full-time job. I’m not sure that’s for me, but she does give some good time management and work-life balance advice. I think one of my latent fears of publishing is that I won’t have time to do it justice. But that seems like a fear to realize a long way off, not something to stop me from trying.

Writer’s Takeaway: This book has inspired me to start some revisions for my WIP and I’m excited to share that I have started another round of revisions. Many readers have said that my male protagonist was strong but the female needed a bit better motivation at the beginning. Let’s see what motivation and advice from Halverson can do to get me pushing forward.

A helpful book, but some parts were more helpful than others. 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:
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Writing Young Adult Fiction by Deborah Halverson | Samantha Clark
Young Love | Joseph’s Reviews

Book Review: Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe

2 Mar

I didn’t know how much I was going to enjoy this story until I was already engrossed in it. I visited Belfast in 2018, mostly to see the Titanic Museum. I didn’t know much about The Troubles. I knew about the IRA only from the parallels drawn between it and ETA, which I did my undergraduate thesis on. This research gave me the perspective that the IRA is a terrorist organization. But this book rarely uses that word. It’s more often referred to as a paramilitary group. I think that different perspective is what made this book so fascinating to me.

Cover via Amazon

Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe

Summary from Amazon:

In December 1972, Jean McConville, a thirty-eight-year-old mother of ten, was dragged from her Belfast home by masked intruders, her children clinging to her legs. They never saw her again. Her abduction was one of the most notorious episodes of the vicious conflict known as The Troubles. Everyone in the neighborhood knew the I.R.A. was responsible. But in a climate of fear and paranoia, no one would speak of it. In 2003, five years after an accord brought an uneasy peace to Northern Ireland, a set of human bones was discovered on a beach. McConville’s children knew it was their mother when they were told a blue safety pin was attached to the dress–with so many kids, she had always kept it handy for diapers or ripped clothes.

Patrick Radden Keefe’s mesmerizing book on the bitter conflict in Northern Ireland and its aftermath uses the McConville case as a starting point for the tale of a society wracked by a violent guerrilla war, a war whose consequences have never been reckoned with. The brutal violence seared not only people like the McConville children, but also I.R.A. members embittered by a peace that fell far short of the goal of a united Ireland, and left them wondering whether the killings they committed were not justified acts of war, but simple murders. From radical and impetuous I.R.A. terrorists such as Dolours Price, who, when she was barely out of her teens, was already planting bombs in London and targeting informers for execution, to the ferocious I.R.A. mastermind known as The Dark, to the spy games and dirty schemes of the British Army, to Gerry Adams, who negotiated the peace but betrayed his hardcore comrades by denying his I.R.A. past–Say Nothing conjures a world of passion, betrayal, vengeance, and anguish.

Some of this was so crazy that you wanted it to be fiction instead of a bitter true history. The murders and deaths were terrible and hearing about the dangers of daily life in Belfast during this time made me wonder why my mother didn’t stop me from visiting because of old headline fears. This book took decades worth of headlines and developments and told a story. While it starts and ends with Jean McConville, the story seems to spend a lot of time with Dolours Price. Price’s story is an extreme example of the IRA’s brutality but it highlighted much of the organization’s history without bringing in too many other people. I found it fascinating to hear about an armed struggle from the side I’d always been told was the enemy. I won’t say this changed my opinion of the IRA; more that it helped me understand why someone would be drawn to the other side.

Keefe did an amazing amount of research for this and it showed. Most of the major players in the story are now dead and his stories of and about them come from news articles and interviews that he poured over for years. Dolours and Brendan Hughes seemed more well rounded in the book than Dolours’s sister Marian or Gerry Adams. I wasn’t surprised to hear that the later are still alive.

I had a love/hate relationship with Price through the book. She had ideals I could never sympathize with and she went to lengths I would never consider. But I had to admire her determination. I think, directed in a different direction, she could have been famous for very different reasons. It’s a result of location that she turned into a bomber and criminal. I think she could have done great things if she’d directed her attentions and focus in other directions.

I think I was so intrigued by the people in this book because their lives were so different from mine. I’ve not had to deal with religious oppression, the driving force behind the IRA, or another form of surpression or opression that would have driven me to take a path similar to the IRA members highlighted in this book. I’ve never suffered political violence like the McConville family. It’s hard for me to fathom what it would have been like to be in their shoes. I think this is part of why I wish I knew this story better before visiting Belfast. I would have wanted to learn more about it and get a different feeling for a place that could give birth to the IRA.

Patrick Radden Keefe
Image via the author’s website

There were two parts of the story I found most interesting. The first was the 1970s, the hight of Dolours’s involvement in the IRA and a large part of the book. The activities undertaken and efforts of the group to gain political power were fascinating. The second was the Belfast Project. It’s amazing that the Boston College historians were able to get the interviews they did. I’m fascinated by the lack of legal protections the project provided and I’m a bit disappointed that the noble goal of the project fell apart so quickly. I’m interested to see who else did interviews and hope that as time passes, more information can come out of the project to provide peace of mind and closure to remaining victims.

For a long time, it didn’t seem like the stories in the book would come together. There was a long stretch in the middle when McConville wasn’t mentioned at all. It seemed like almost an afterthought to have added her kidnapping at the beginning and I wondered repeatedly how it would ever come together in the end. I was frustrated in the middle, waiting and waiting for things to be relevant again. While they eventually were, this was my only frustration with the book.

The audiobook was narrated by Matthew Blaney and the voice in my head took on his accent for hours after listening. I’m glad they got an Irish narrator for this book. It seemed a little out of place at the very end when Keefe mentions that he’s American born, but I think the book woul have lost a lot of it’s impact if the narrator had been American as well. Keefe’s Irish roots were what drew him to this story so it seems appropriate to have an Irish narrator.

It’s the memory of the IRA and what it did that stays with this book throughout. Dolours is warned once against speaking about what happened to McConville because she has children. It’s the McConville children who eventually identify their mother. The things that happened in the 70s still have strong impacts today. This is worth remembering for all major decisions made by a generation.

Writer’s Takeaway: Nonfiction is a fight I’m not sure I could win. The amount of research that’s evident in Keefe’s writing is amazing. It’s clear he poured over many primary sources, articles, and secondary histories that helped him weave this story. His ability to jump from person to person to tell a full story made this a joy to read and gave the reader a great perspective of the IRA as a whole and how it changed and eveolved. My hat is off to Keefe. I don’t think I would ever try to duplicate his amazing efforts.

This book was fascinating and a joy to read. A full Five out of Five Stars.

I’ve decided to give this book the 1980-1999 time period of the When Are You Reading? Challenge. It’s debatable, but it feels appropriate.

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: 
Patrick Radden Keefe, “Say Nothing” | Don’t Need a Diagram 
Book Review: Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe | Karissa Reads Books 
Book Review: Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe | What Kaitlyn Thinks 
Say Nothing: The True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe | Disco Demolition Night 

Book Review: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (4/5)

9 Feb

I read this book too slowly. I started the audiobook later than I intended to in order to meet an end-of-year challenge deadline and I missed being anywhere close to finishing it by my book club meeting. With no pressure to finish it, I slowed down even more and took almost a month longer than the meeting before I finished it. It’s not that the book was bad, but it was long. And without commutes, running, or much of anything going on, audiobooks are not a fast medium for me.

Cover image via Amazon

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Summary from Amazon:

Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time.

Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland. 

In the end, I was left a bit confused by this book. On one hand, it’s about race in America and Ifemelu’s observations of race and reflections on how it affects people. On the other hand, it’s a love story about two people living in Nigeria, where they clearly say race is not a factor. While these are both good stories, they’re not very well related, yet they live together in this book. I liked both stories, I enjoyed the insights about love and race, but it felt disconnected to me which took away from my overall enjoyment.

Ifemelu and Obinze were amazing characters and I loved them both. I felt like Ifemelu was more the main character and her story was a lot stronger. Her life in America, the life she formed for herself and the way she observed American culture was great. I laughed a lot at her blog posts, both her tone and her bold observations. I liked the ways she navigated America and I felt the hardships she faced were very real and I understood why she felt the way she did about my culture.

Obinze surprised me the most. I was a bit surprised when he decided to move to the UK. I would have understood better if he’d gone for school, but going to work seemed weird to me. If he had a job lined up, something that was going to pay well, that was one thing. But going to work whatever job he could, it seemed he would have been better off in Nigeria. I was a bit surprised by his sudden success because the lifestyle it afforded him seemed out of line with the character we’d learned up until that point. It was clear he wasn’t chasing that life, but I didn’t expect him to be so comfortable in it.

I didn’t relate to a character, but I related to the America Ifemelu described. I saw my city and my school and even myself in her observations. I realized things that I had accepted as ‘standard’ that need to be challenged. I realized how funny certain ‘normal’ things might seem to someone on the outside. I learned to laugh at myself and get why I need to open my eyes and realize that what I consider OK might need to change.

Ifemelu’s blog posts were my favorite part of the story. I think the men she dated in America made it easier for her to make some of the observations she did and that might have helped her write it (and been a bit convenient for the writer). Curt’s wealth got her into parts of society most people can’t even imagine. It also showcased white privilege and prejudices as old as America. Her relationship with Blane let her give a commentary on the Black American experience and contrasted with her time with Curt. I would have liked if she had some more friends to help create these dichotomies but the resulting observations were wonderful anyway.

The end of the book wasn’t great for me (spoilers ahead). I was happy when she and Obinze got back together, but I was reserved about it as well. I didn’t like that he was married and how she accepted this at first, being okay with her role as a mistress. I didn’t like how she would ignore the truth. She had come really far in her self-realization journey and this seemed like a major step back. And I found it hard to believe she was going to be comfortable with their arrangement long term. It seemed like a sudden ending no one was going to be happy living with.

The audiobook was narrated by Adjoa Andoh who did an amazing job. I wasn’t a huge fan of some of her American accents, which came off as a bit nasal, but I could ignore it for the beautiful voices she gave all the other characters. Her voices helped me keep the cast of characters separate and enjoy the story being told to me. I’d listen to another book read by her in a heartbeat.

Race was clearly the main theme of this book, even if it didn’t fit well with the overall plot of Ifemelu and Obinze. The observations Ifemelu makes about race and racial relations in America take over the book and the long period of time she spends in America, becoming the titular Americanah, dominates the length of the book. Dike’s story really highlights the experiences she talks about. His experience is more similar to an American-born Black because of his appearance and he is subjected to prejudice and injustice throughout his childhood. Yet at home, his mother holds different ideas of identity and sees him and herself as different from American-born Blacks. His first-generation immigrant experience isn’t like those who have different external appearances because his is tinged by racial assumptions. He was a great character in this book to help highlight this experience.

Writer’s Takeaway: Adichie is known to be outspoken about feminism and race. Using a novel to share this was a great medium, though it seemed a bit heavy-handed at times. Ifemelu’s story in America was great on its own and Ifemelu and Obinze’s love story was great on its own. Combining them was a bit too much for me and I think contributed to the length of this book and a bit of a rushed ending. Maybe this would have been better as two books.

An enjoyable read though a bit too much for one title. Four out of Five Stars.

This book fulfilled the 2000-Present time period of the 2021 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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Book Review: Octavia Butler’s Kindred adapted by Damian Duffy and John Jennings (3/5)

2 Feb

This was my first foray into the graphic novel. My reading buddy and I had decided to read Kindred and the graphic novel and paperback were comparable prices at our bookstore so we decided to try something new with a graphic novel. I’m not sure I’d recommend the format for a discussion the way we do (virtual at least 4 times during the story). It would be better for a solo read.

Cover image via Amazon

Octavia Butler’s Kindred adapted by Damian Duffy and John Jennings

Summary from Amazon:

Butler’s most celebrated, critically acclaimed work tells the story of Dana, a young black woman who is suddenly and inexplicably transported from her home in 1970s California to the pre–Civil War South. As she time-travels between worlds, one in which she is a free woman and one where she is part of her own complicated familial history on a southern plantation, she becomes frighteningly entangled in the lives of Rufus, a conflicted white slaveholder and one of Dana’s own ancestors, and the many people who are enslaved by him.

This story was very moving and really powerful. I’ve read stories about American slavery before and most of the ones I remember were told from the slaveholder’s point of view. Having a Black character tell the story was much more powerful. Dana was great for telling this story because she made it easier to compare the treatment of Blacks in the 1970s to slaves in the 1800s. She lived in both worlds and learned how to survive. Having a white partner made it an even more stark contrast and I liked how Butler included Kevin for this. The images in the book were really striking. My reading buddy and I liked the color selections, where the 1970s was monochromatic while the 1800s was in full color and much more vivid.

I thought a lot of the characters were good reflections of their time. Dana and Kevin were progressive, even for their era, but didn’t come off as unrealistic. I think the ways they acted in the 1800s were believable, too. They had to learn to temper their gut reactions to things to realize what life was like on a plantation. I think Rufus and the people who lived on the plantation were credible characters for their time as well. Sarah was the one I felt for the most. She’d really suffered at the hands of the Weilyns and her protective feelings over Carrie were understandable and realistic. She was a really strong woman.

Dana was my favorite character and it made reading her story more enjoyable. She was smart and very resourceful. I was scared for her when she would travel but I knew she was smart enough to survive whatever was coming her way. Watching her adapt was terrifying and inspiring at the same time.

There wasn’t really a character I related to in this story and it didn’t prevent me from enjoying it. What’s enjoyable about this story is that the characters are in a situation that is impossible to imagine. Time travel’s unreality makes it fascinating to see what would happen if the impossible were possible and think what would happen to people in those crazy situations.

Damian Duffy and John Jennings
Image via the University of Illinois

[Small spoiler ahead.] Dana’s travel back to find Kevin was my favorite. On top of the story with Rufus, I was anxious about the two of them being reunited. It added a level of suspense on top of the mystery and horror of her situation that I thought made for a really compelling section of the story.

[Bigger spoiler alert ahead.] The ending of the book was a bit too rushed for my liking. After Dana returns from her last trip, things wrapped up almost too quickly. She seemed to move on from a very traumatizing situation very quickly and Kevin was supportive but I got a feeling he was also telling her to move on. We know that Alice is a relative because of a family bible but now she can’t find anything about her relatives. Their names are in the Bible so I felt that would have been the perfect place to start. I turned the last page expecting more and was a bit disappointed.

The illustrations were well done and helped me visualize the story well. The scenes of violence and abuse I found particularly moving and hard to look at because of their impact. I liked Dana’s depiction a lot and felt the way she was dressed was a great contrast to the 1800s which kept her from blending in and kept the focus on her.

It’s hard to comment on the adaptation without having read the original novel. A part of me still wants to read it (or listen to the audiobook). I know adaptations usually have to take out a lot of the story and I wonder how much I missed by reading the adaptation. I also wonder how much richer my idea of the Weylin plantation is because of the images.

Butler’s story brings the atrocities of slavery into a modern perspective. Instead of a historical fiction story where all characters have a mindset of the time, Kevin and Dana bring a more relatable perspective to the time and give opinions similar to those of the modern reader. Having a Black main character highlights those differences when Dana can compare the way she’s treated at work and by her husband with the way she’s treated the second she arrives in the 1800s. This story is powerful. The graphic novel adaptation really highlights the experience Dana is having. You can’t forget the bruises and scars she has when they’re in every frame.

Writer’s Takeaway: The profile of Butler in the book highlights that she wrote this book because she couldn’t find a science fiction book with a Black female main character. She wanted to be able to see herself in the main character. This is so reflective of the push now to have minority voices published more often. Butler took her own life experiences and poured them into a story that gives a powerful look at a time period that’s often written about. This also encourages me to continue to ‘write what I know.’ Butler’s familiarity with Dana shows and makes her very powerful.

An enjoyable story that I feel suffered slightly from being adapted. I’m not sure graphic novels are a format for me. Three out of Five Stars.

This book fulfilled the 1800-1899 time period for the 2021 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:
Octavia Butler’s Kindred, adapted by Damian Duffy and John Jennings | Intellectus Speculativus
Graphic Novel Review: Kindred | The Bookish Kirra
Kindred: A Graphic Novel | Great Stories Club, Book Discussion
Review: Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation | This Weblog is Unique. Just Like They All Are
Kindred the Graphic Novel: A Review | Nerds Color

Book Review: The Bear by Andrew Krivak (3/5)

26 Jan

This is yet another book club selection that I successfully avoided descriptions of before starting. Based on the cover, I’d assumed it would have to do with stars and Ursa Major or Ursa Minor. While it came up briefly, I was totally off base. I’m not sure if I would have preferred that, though.

Cover image via Amazon

The Bear by Andrew Krivak

Summary from Amazon:

In an Edenic future, a girl and her father live close to the land in the shadow of a lone mountain. They possess a few remnants of civilization: some books, a pane of glass, a set of flint and steel, a comb. The father teaches the girl how to fish and hunt, the secrets of the seasons and the stars. He is preparing her for an adulthood in harmony with nature, for they are the last of humankind. But when the girl finds herself alone in an unknown landscape, it is a bear that will lead her back home through a vast wilderness that offers the greatest lessons of all, if she can only learn to listen.

I was kind of excited about the Endenic setting and the survival aspect of the book. There are things that the girl and her father have inherited from our era like books and windows. However, most of what they have is made or found and they are very reliant on themselves and their skills. Knowledge has been passed down and that’s critical for their survival. Without bows and hunting skills or the ability to smoke and preserve meat, there’s no way they’d live. I was fascinated by the knowledge that the girl inherited. I think this is part of what I enjoyed in the first half of the book. Once the title Bear came into the story, I really lost my interest and the entire second half of the book was a bit of a chore for me.

The girl and her father felt very real to me. I could understand the love he demonstrated for her and I could understand her actions and instincts to survive and return home to a degree. It was when the bear showed up that I thought things got a little wonky and I stopped believing this was realistic fiction. I wanted something more concrete that I could sink my teeth into and it ended up feeling like a fable.

The father was my favorite character. I thought he was a great teacher and he showed his love for his daughter well. He taught her what she needed to know as soon as she was old enough to learn it because he knew she might have to survive alone. I thought he was kind and wise.

I related best to the girl. She was always eager to learn and try new things and I relate to that. When she learned to do something, she put it into practice quickly and was eager to show she was a good student. The way she made her own shoes and bow after her father had taught her proved that she absorbed the information well.

Andrew Krivak
Image via Simon & Schuster

The journey the girl and her father took too the ocean was my favorite part. I liked how he taught her about the world before and showed her how to do new things as they traveled. I thought he prepared her well to be able to make the trip again if she needed to.

I’m going to talk about the bear and the twist that happens at half way so please skip this paragraph if you want to avoid that. I was so angry when a sentient bear showed up half way through the book. The book went from a survival book to a fable about preserving the environment and communing with nature. I felt like it was a bait-and-switch and I wanted it to end. I slogged through the second half of the book.

The girl learned to work with nature instead of against it to live. She took what she needed but started giving something back as well. It felt like the author had a strong message about environmentalism and I think it was a bit heavy-handed. When civilization ends, nature will take over, much as it did in this book. It seems like we’re being told not to fight it because we will succumb in time.

Writer’s Takeaway: Krivak’s writing was really beautiful and lyrical and it helped me fall in love with the story early on. He had a great way of writing the love the father had for his daughter into his actions. I liked the flow of time in the book and how the author skipped to important events without feeling like we were missing things in between.

A novel that started off great but took a turn I couldn’t take seriously. Three out of Five Stars.

This book fulfilled the Future time period of the 2021 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: 
The Bear by Andrew Krivak | North of Oxford 
Book Review: The Bear by Andrew Krivak | Hamlets & Hyperspace 

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Book Review: A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro (3/5)

18 Jan

I can’t remember when I grabbed this book exactly. It must have been after I heard Ishiguro speak since it’s not a signed copy. I’m guessing I found it on a used book sale shelf at the library at some point. I knew it was one of his earlier books and much different than his popular books. Since I’ve been a fan of some books and not others, I figured it was worth a shot.

Cover image via Amazon

A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro

Other books by Ishiguro reviewed on this blog:

The Burried Giant
The Remains of the Day
Never Let Me Go Book Club Reflection And Movie Review
Meeting Kazuo Ishiguro

Summary from Amazon:

From the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature and author of the Booker Prize–winning novel The Remains of the Day, here is the story of Etsuko, a Japanese woman now living alone in England, dwelling on the recent suicide of her daughter. In a novel where past and present confuse, she relives scenes of Japan’s devastation in the wake of World War II.

This novel had a wonderfully slow pace. It was perfect for reading before bed and helping me relax. There was more dialogue than description and Ishiguro did well to keep me aware of what character was speaking when. I liked the sparse description because the conversations people were having were the most important. The ending made me think a lot, which I wasn’t ready for. It was a bit of a twist, but I should have expected that from Ishiguro.

I felt the characters were very believable. Etsuko didn’t have much of a personality but everyone around her did, especially Sachiko who I’m still not sure how I feel about. The relationship between the two women seems to be the center of the book, but Etsuko’s relationship with her husband comes under scrutiny as well. It didn’t bother me that Etsuko was rather flat. Even though she’s more-or-less the main character, the story seems to be what she sees and not who she is.

Ogata was the most interesting character to me. He was so polite to Etsuko but you could tell he was very angry and upset with what was happening in his country and feeling like it was out of his control. The way he brings up the article criticizing him, it’s obvious that he’s very upset about it, more than he’s letting on. He’s also frustrated with his son and what he perceives as disrespect through his son’s long work hours and refusal to play chess with him in the evening. I thought it was really eye-opening to see a father-in-law act this way toward his son and daughter-in-law and also telling about shifts in ideology in Japan after WWII with how he spoke about the article and his colleague.

There weren’t characters I related to well in this story. I wanted to relate to Etsuko but her personality was so flat that I wasn’t able to. Niki was probably the closest to me in age and life, but she was cold to her mother and tht’s so opposite of me that I couldn’t relate to her. 

Me, Ishiguro, and my friend Nicole

Hearing about Sachinko’s relationship with Frank and her uncle was the most interesting to me because it was so unclear what was going on. I started to unravel her relationship with her husband and why she was living in her cottage, but I’m not sure I ever really figured it out. And I’m not sure I completely understood the ending, either. Though I enjoyed how much it made me scratch my head and think of a few different ways it could have played out.

I thought Ogata’s plotline fell flat and that left me disappointed. I wanted him to confront his son or his former student more. I wanted him to defend himself. But in the end, he left. I know I was probably supposed to get more out of what he said and how his relationship with his son was indicative of changing political beliefs in Japan, but it was too sublt for me.

I was a little confused by the ending of this book which obscured the theme for me. I’m going to spoil it a bit here so skip this paragraph to avoid spoilers. When the modern narrator says she remembers taking her daughter to the harbor, I was so confused. I figured there were a few different ways to interpret it. One was that Etsuko was talking about her daughter, still enutero, going with her. The second is that Sachiko is our modern narrator and Mariko and Keiko are the same person. Third was that Etsuko somehow adopted or stoke Mariko and changed her name to keep Sachiko from finding them. Any way you shake it down, it’s a bit of an odd ending and could mean many things. In the first case, it’s about memory and how our memories of things are always rosier than the actual event. In the two later cases, it’s about how we can change our futures and try our best to do the best we can for the next generation but it might not work out. So I’m left a little confused by this book.

Writer’s Takeaway: Having a bland narrator so you can focus on a secondary character is a legitimate way to tell a story about someone without using their eyes. I’m thinking of Nick in The Great Gatsby. Ishiguro does something similar here with Etsuko, telling the story of the much more interesting Sachiko without Sachiko narrating or having to explain herself all the time. It keep her mysterious and more intriguing.

I enjoyed this book, especially it’s direct writing and light tone. Three out of Five Stars.

This book fulfills the 1940-1959 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 Pale View of Hills – Kazuo Ishiguro | Sushu Blog 
Review: A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro | Thoughts on Papyrus 
Kazuo Ishiguro’s A Pale View of the Hills – Thoughts on a Roundabout Narrative | Constructed Heroisms 
A Pale View of Hills – Kazuo Ishiguro | Savidge Reads 

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Book Review: Hum If You Don’t Now the Words by Bianca Marais (4/5)

7 Jan

This was a book club pick I wasn’t happy about because there was no audiobook available. With how slow I’ve been on audiobooks, I should have been more excited. When I found out my library didn’t have a copy and I’d have to do an ILL, I wasn’t pleased, but I made due. I’m glad I stuck with this title despite the difficulty of getting my hands on it. It was a gem.

Cover image via Amazon

Hum If You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais

Summary from Amazon:

Life under Apartheid has created a secure future for Robin Conrad, a ten-year-old white girl living with her parents in 1970s Johannesburg. In the same nation but worlds apart, Beauty Mbali, a Xhosa woman in a rural village in the Bantu homeland of the Transkei, struggles to raise her children alone after her husband’s death. Both lives have been built upon the division of race, and their meeting should never have occurred…until the Soweto Uprising, in which a protest by black students ignites racial conflict, alters the fault lines on which their society is built, and shatters their worlds when Robin’s parents are left dead and Beauty’s daughter goes missing.

After Robin is sent to live with her loving but irresponsible aunt, Beauty is hired to care for Robin while continuing the search for her daughter. In Beauty, Robin finds the security and family that she craves, and the two forge an inextricable bond through their deep personal losses. But Robin knows that if Beauty finds her daughter, Robin could lose her new caretaker forever, so she makes a desperate decision with devastating consequences. Her quest to make amends and find redemption is a journey of self-discovery in which she learns the harsh truths of the society that once promised her protection.

I was a little thrown off at first by Robin’s narration. She was at the same time well-spoken and also naive which I wasn’t ready for. I realize it was Marais’s way of writing a young girl’s voice for an adult audience and once I adjusted to it, I found the humor and enjoyed it. This was a complicated and wonderful story. I know a little about apartheid in South Africa so I had a basic understanding of the setting. Marais did a wonderful job of bringing 1970s Johannesburg to life for someone who’s never been and didn’t live through the time. I wasn’t aware how much the media controlled information to and from the country which struck me the most.

Marais’s characters are exceptions to their time and I think that’s what makes them interesting. I don’t, however, believe they’re giving me a good representation of the time period. We know that Maggie and Wilhemina are exceptional. We know that Edith has seen more of the world and has a broader view of right and wrong than most South Africans. We know that Beauty is more educated than most Black women of the time. Victor’s sexuality makes him a target and makes him want to rise against the oppressive system that keeps him down. They are joined in a fight against the overwhelming majority keeping them underground. While I believe people like them existed and I’m glad they did, I think the book could have been stronger if there were bigoted major characters, not just neighbors and nameless passers-by.

I hope there were people like Beauty in the world at that time. I hope smart, intelligent women were fighting for their families like Beauty did. I hope more women were able to show the whites that they were wrong and that their ideas could be challenged. Her patience was incredible and the way she helped change Robin’s way of thinking with action and truth was incredible. I’d like to hope she wasn’t fiction because she amazed me.

I think Robin’s ways of thinking were challenged much like ideas in America are being challenged today. The BLM movement and the political division in our country are making me wonder why some people think the way they do and questioning the way I think as well. Do I think I’m right because of the media I consume? Have I considered other sides? Robin faced these hard questions at a young age with remarkable grace. I hope we as a nation can do the same.

Bianca Marais
Image via Amazon

Robin’s relationship with Cat was my favorite part of the story. This is a bit of a spoiler so skip this paragraph to avoid that. I had imaginary friends growing up, so I related to Robin here. Mine weren’t as corporal as Cat, but they existed to me all the same. I thought it was interesting how much she insisted on Cat and how aware she was that Cat was imaginary. Her letting go of Cat was very significant. My mom says I sent my imaginary friends home with my Grandparents one day and never mentioned them again. I feel like Robin was more aware of what Cat meant to her and how she had to give her up to grow.

I felt that the ending was a little too perfect. Robin’s ability to show she was ‘woke’ (as we’d say now) seemed to draw just a little bit too perfectly on what Beauty had taught her. Beauty’s illness was timed so perfectly that she and Robin could have a conversation before she became unresponsive. And King George was willing to take an enormous risk for a young girl because she talked to him. All of it was a bit too much for me when it all came together. 

Family has a lot of different meanings. Robin’s family changes in a second and then continues to evolve. The people who come to make up her family care about her and she learns to care about people she never would have considered before. It sounds like a bad joke when you list them by the characteristics that make them unusual in 1970s South Africa (a Jew, a gay man, a Black woman, a young girl). But what makes them different becomes what binds them together. Alone they are scared, but together they are powerful. The title is what Edith says to Robin when she doesn’t know the words to a hymn. It’s about blending in when you’re alone and becoming part of something bigger.

Writer’s Takeaway: The alternating viewpoints worked wonderfully in this book. Robin may see something through a child’s eye but Beauty could ground it in something more serious and vice versa. Their two ways of seeing things didn’t often clash but they would round out the other to really lift the story.

An enjoyable story that I sped through. Four out of Five Stars.

This book fulfilled the 1960-1979 time period for the 2021 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: 
Author Interview: Bianca Marais, author of Hum If You Don’t Know the Words | Life Between Pages 
Hum if you don’t know the words by Bianca Marais | A Haven for Book Lovers 
Hum If You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais | Reading Ladies Book Club 
Wednesdays With Writers: A Smashing Debut from Bianca Marais Explores the Apartheid, Racism, the Soweto Uprising, Motherhood, and So Much More in Hum If You Don’t Know the Words | Leslie A. Lindsay 

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Book Review: A Burnable Book by Bruce Holsinger (3/5)

5 Jan

I needed a final book to wrap up my historical fiction reading challenge. I thought I left myself enough time to read this by starting just after Thanksgiving. Little did I know stomach issues were going to keep me from running or driving to the gym for a few weeks and my progress would slow to a crawl. I just managed to finish this book on New Year’s Eve. And it was mostly thanks to my loving husband not taking failure for an option and forcing me on an hour-long walk where we both listened to books. Thanks, hubs.

Cover image via Amazon

A Burnable Book by Bruce Holsinger

Summary from Amazon:

London, 1385. Surrounded by ruthless courtiers—including his powerful uncle, John of Gaunt, and Gaunt’s artful mistress, Katherine Swynford—England’s young, still untested king, Richard II, is in mortal peril, and the danger is only beginning. Songs are heard across London—catchy verses said to originate from an ancient book that prophesies the end of England’s kings—and among the book’s predictions is Richard’s assassination.

Only a few powerful men know that the cryptic lines derive from a “burnable book,” a seditious work that threatens the stability of the realm. To find the manuscript, wily bureaucrat Geoffrey Chaucer turns to fellow poet John Gower, a professional trader in information with connections high and low. Gower discovers that the book and incriminating evidence about its author have fallen into the unwitting hands of innocents, who will be drawn into a labyrinthine conspiracy that reaches from the king’s court to London’s slums and stews—and potentially implicates his own son. As the intrigue deepens, it becomes clear that Gower, a man with secrets of his own, may be the last hope to save a king from a terrible fate.

The book seemed to be a bit too long for me. It dragged near the beginning, which is a bad place to drag. I didn’t get invested in the action until it picked up and by then, my time was diminishing and I just had to race through the book. I feel like as much of the plot development I remember from the last two days reading this book was in the rest of the book. That’s not very well-weighted. With a thriller, you expect a fast-paced ending, but I wasn’t expecting the slow beginning.

Holsinger had characters from a variety of social classes in Medieval England. His knowledge of the era shone well. I liked the maudlin a lot, they had a lot of character and I thought it was funny how integrated they were with the other levels of society. It was a good way to bring together such a wide variety of people in the mystery.

Milicent was my favorite for her ability to move between groups of people and how she was able to blend in. She was refined from her time as a mistress but when she was distressed and her low-born accent and way of speaking came out, I laughed because it showed how much she’d learned to put on airs. She was very smart and she loved her sister very much. She really had a heart of gold.

No single character was particularly relatable to me, but I liked a lot of them because I could see admirable traits in them. Maybe that was why I thought this book read slowly. It’s hard for me to pinpoint why.

Bruce Holsinger
Image via Goodreads

The ending of the book, from St. Dunston’s Day to the end, was the most exciting. Most of the book built to St. Dunston’s Day and I thought the scene was handled well and the way it wrapped up was exciting and kept me on the edge of my seat. I just wish there could have been some similar moments in the middle.

The middle, from Agnes and Milicent going on the run until St. Dunston’s Day, was a big drag for me. I felt like I was floundering with the characters, jerking the book around but learning nothing new. It felt like it was dragging just to reach the celebration when I think it would have been better if the story started closer to the climax date. It just dragged and dragged for me and couldn’t pick up.

Simon Vance read the audiobook and he’s a narrator I’ve liked a lot in the past. I thought he did well with this story, keeping me involved and using a lot of subtle voice work to bring the characters to life. I hope to be listening to another work of his in the near future since I do enjoy his readings.

In the end, the book seemed to boil down to twisting someone’s words and how powerful words could be. The book was altered several times in several copies that eventually made it so John could solve the mystery and trace back to the culprit. It’s not surprising to read a book about the power of words. Writers, myself included, have a powerful love for words and like to explore what that power can do and how it can affect others. 

Writer’s Takeaway: Writing a mystery is incredibly complicated, something I haven’t been brave enough to take on. The mystery part of this book was well done and enjoyable. During the large reveals, I was saying aloud “Oh, that makes so much sense!” and smacking my forehead for not connecting dots earlier. While I didn’t like the pacing of the mystery in this case, the web itself was well woven.

Overall enjoyable though some parts could have been edited down significantly. Three out of Five Stars.

This book fulfilled the (final) 1300-1499 time period for the When Are You Reading? Challenge 2020.

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 Burnable Book by Bruce Holsinger | Read the World 
Entry 5: A Burnable Book (John Gower #1) | Sweaters and Raindrops 

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