I think I might have reached the point where I can't pause between books. Really enjoying this series. I especially enjoyed that we get a little bit mI think I might have reached the point where I can't pause between books. Really enjoying this series. I especially enjoyed that we get a little bit more of Crow in this one, after appreciating his absence from the last one. He is growing on me, and he grows as a character in this story as well. I am carrying right on to the next book in the series. ...more
**spoiler alert** I forget exactly how this book and series came to my attention - I'm always on the lookout for mystery books with strong female prot**spoiler alert** I forget exactly how this book and series came to my attention - I'm always on the lookout for mystery books with strong female protagonists, especially police officers, so somehow I read about this and decided to give it a try. I got the audiobook from the library. I had a somewhat mixed reaction to it.
It started out very badly when, in the first chapter - literally the first five moments of the audiobook - the character makes a mistake no police officer would ever make: "it was manslaughter, not homicide." Umm, no. The distinction is between manslaughter and murder. Both are considered homicides, which is just an unlawful killing. I am a pedant, yes. But that is an amateur level mistake in a police procedural, which this is, albeit it all moves into a very unusual setting.
The unusual setting was intriguing to me too, if COMPLETELY UNBELIEVABLE. I have lived in Canada's far north. It is not remotely possible, even in the Yukon, for there to be a community of a couple of hundred people that nobody knows about in an official capacity. As if the only people who might be living in the woods are the white people who moved away from the community, the "settlers". As if there are no indigenous folks who might also be hunting and fishing in the wilderness. But okay, I could mostly get over that. And she does get a lot of the details of living in a small northern community pretty well - the chemical toilets, the northern lights, the houses that all look the same.
The mystery was pretty good, and I did like the characterizations. Casey Duncan was a good solid character and I enjoyed reading this in her voice. I also liked the crusty Sherriff character, who was quite unique, and I thought we'd get a nice working relationship going. But then, the last third of the book turned into a Harlequin Romance rather than a mystery novel. Meh. Not only that, but a romance where the villains all turned out to be jealous women. Double meh.
That said, the pacing and the characterization was done well enough that I ended up listening to the whole book in a day rather than stretching it to listen to during my commute, as I usually do. I "couldn't put it down". But, I will likely not carry on to the second book in the series.
After finishing the book, I looked for more information on the author and realized that most of what she has written is in the paranormal vein, which is not a genre I'm terribly interested in. Still, she does have good plotting skills, and can write interesting characters. I can see why her books are quite popular, I just don't think they're for me.
Still loving Tess and this series. This book was a slight drop from the last one, but only because the last one had just everything at stake and was nStill loving Tess and this series. This book was a slight drop from the last one, but only because the last one had just everything at stake and was nigh-on perfect. There are still echoes resonating from the stuff that happened, including with Crow, and that works well for me. I liked the slow reveal of character back story and motivation elements. I'll be moving right along to the next book now... ...more
I ended up reading this because the library audiobook was available and I needed an audiobook to read for my commute, and none of my other "to read" bI ended up reading this because the library audiobook was available and I needed an audiobook to read for my commute, and none of my other "to read" books was available yet. I haven't watched Girls; my awareness of Lena Dunham comes mostly from how she is perceived and often criticized in the popular culture. I was curious about the autiobiography of someone who is a feminist shit-disturber, who seems to be hated and loved in equal measure by all sides of the feminism/anti-feminism spectrum. (Well, that's probably not quite accurate - I would suppose that nobody on the anti-feminism side actually loves her. But lots of feminists seem to hate her).
So although I didn't end up absolutely loving the book, I did start watching Girls immediately upon finishing, and I think I'll keep watching it. I am really interested to see where Lena Dunham goes with the fierce intelligence and creative power she has. Because the thing is, as much as she puts herself out there as this slacker, self-absorbed, etc etc all the things the haters say - the woman wrote, produced, and directed a hit series on HBO before she was fucking 30 years old. That takes a serious work ethic and serious writing chops. No, this book isn't the most thoughtful, insightful memoir I've ever read, but at her age I wasn't particularly insightful about my own shit either.
I'm kind of torn about my rating on this one. I loved the first third - the characters, the portrayal of the growing relationship between Bethia and CI'm kind of torn about my rating on this one. I loved the first third - the characters, the portrayal of the growing relationship between Bethia and Caleb, the powerful writing and description of the natural world, and then the emotion around the losses that accumulate. The middle third was a little less compelling, and then the last third was very meh - a lot of telling rather than showing, a need to bring what is essentially a family/relationship story over a generation to a tidy ending.
I think Brooks is trying to be balanced and fair in telling what is essentially a contact story, contact between settler and indigenous, and the first part was most compelling on that theme because it involves children who are both being true to their identities, their history, their culture. It starts to get more complicated to me because as Caleb transforms, taking on the settler religion and morals and culture, we are only seeing this transformation through Bethia's eyes. While we see hints of the costs to him, and his people, by the end of the book I felt Brooks had fallen into the traps that white folks/ colonizers often fall into when writing about the "other" - Caleb falls into the Noble Savage trope; Bethia actually becomes, in a way, his savior at the very end. That left me with a really uncomfortable feeling about the ending of the book that wasn't there at the beginning. The first third was "true" and genuine in a way the last third was not. So, overall only three stars, but still glad to have read it.
Note that after I wrote my review I went and looked at other reviews, and I see there was an epilogue to the book by Brooks that wasn't included in my audiobook edition. I want to go find that, as I have very little knowledge of the history behind this story. The fact that Caleb was a historical figure, about whom little was known, doesn't diminish my disappointment at the treatment given in the book to how the story ends. If anything, it accentuates it: if you're going to make up history, do that by making the characters shine out as real people. Caleb stopped being a real person about halfway through the book, for me. ...more
I really enjoyed this. Thought provoking and challenging, but for me worth reading. Not happy, particularly, and not a romantic or idealized view of dI really enjoyed this. Thought provoking and challenging, but for me worth reading. Not happy, particularly, and not a romantic or idealized view of dogs, or of the relationships between humans and dogs. I certainly understand the critical acclaim. I look forward to reading more of Alexis' work. ...more
Ahhh yes. This is it. Best book of the series to date, and really digs into who Tess is, how far she has travelled since she began, and just how darkAhhh yes. This is it. Best book of the series to date, and really digs into who Tess is, how far she has travelled since she began, and just how dark she can get. The stakes are high in this one, and it's fantastic. Excellent plot and pacing, new characters to dig into, and best of all, Tess Monahan keeps learning and growing, reluctant and arguing every step of the way. Loved it. ...more
A wonderful, thoughtful book. I don't read a lot of memoir, so I can't assess it in that vein very much - but what I really appreciated was how VanceA wonderful, thoughtful book. I don't read a lot of memoir, so I can't assess it in that vein very much - but what I really appreciated was how Vance puts his individual story into a broader socio-cultural context. I learned a lot and it was a particularly timely and important read in trying to understand why such large swathes of white, rural America would rather vote for someone like Trump. ...more
Not my favourite in the series, but not so bad that I'm going to quit. Quite a lot more filler than usual; and at times it felt like the City of BaltiNot my favourite in the series, but not so bad that I'm going to quit. Quite a lot more filler than usual; and at times it felt like the City of Baltimore must be paying her to pump up the glories of her town - there was quite a lot of Baltimore description and scene-setting. But still, a fun read, and if someone were in fact an Edgar Allan Poe die-hard fan it would probably rate even more. ...more
I started listening to Krista Tippett's podcast, "On Being", earlier this year. She interviews a tremendous range of people and talks about all kindsI started listening to Krista Tippett's podcast, "On Being", earlier this year. She interviews a tremendous range of people and talks about all kinds of things, but usually covering something about humanity, hope, spirituality (but she also interviews atheists and not particularly spiritual people). This book is a collection of interviews together with her own thoughts and synthesis of what she has learned.
It is, quite simply, a wonderful thing to be listening to and reading this days. She doesn't offer solutions - there are no easy answers to the human condition - but her interviews, the people she talks to, and her own wise insights offer hope, understanding, a way of thinking and being in the world that can and does and already has made a difference, has effected real change. It's what I needed to be reading these first few weeks of the Trump presidency. I'd recommend it to anyone. ...more