15 year old Jake is searching for meaning, control, and a role-model in his life. He doesn't have much to choose from. In his rambling, slang-filled j15 year old Jake is searching for meaning, control, and a role-model in his life. He doesn't have much to choose from. In his rambling, slang-filled journal entries he considers how he's always been a victim and begins to learn from his sociopathic older cousin, Nick, how to be "less of a pussy." As he's drawn into Nick's criminal enterprise, he learns confidence but also loses empathy. Jake's a pretty smart kid. It's interesting how he goes from a profanity-laden rant to philosophic musings in the space of a paragraph. The author has really captured the stream-of-consciousness, nearly conversational way of speaking and thinking of this lower-class teenager. Jake's a character study and an exploration on socio-economics and personal growth, but this isn't your average coming-of-age tale. I wouldn't recommend it for teen readers for fear they'd over-identify with Jake and emulate his behavior. The story builds with suspense, and a maternal reader really begins to fear for the protagonist. A fake-out near the end is almost too much, but it's reigned back in satisfactorily. Overall, this is not my usual genre, but I enjoyed the peek into a different kind of story....more
Burley's novel of psychiatry, mystery, conspiracy and paranoia starts out slow, with meandering introspective phrases from our protagonist. It does geBurley's novel of psychiatry, mystery, conspiracy and paranoia starts out slow, with meandering introspective phrases from our protagonist. It does get suspenseful towards the middle, keeping the reader turning page, but slows down again toward the end. An astute reader may guess at the twist coming because the foreshadowing and clues are pretty heavy-handed, but if you take things at face value, you may get swept up in this tale. I found it merely okay....more
What a depressing book. Being an Englishman enforcing British rule in Burma is a dreary, painful, soul-crushing existence. Our 'hero', Mr. Flory is quWhat a depressing book. Being an Englishman enforcing British rule in Burma is a dreary, painful, soul-crushing existence. Our 'hero', Mr. Flory is quite dismayed with his lot in life, finding his only pleasure in his chats with an educated Burman named Dr. Veraswami. Unfortunately, a local conniving pulchritudinous evil power-grubbing type, U Po Kyin has it out for Veraswami, and Flory along with him. Flory's lot in life seems to be looking up when young Elizabeth comes to stay with her aunt and uncle, and Flory attempts to woo her, but the machinations of U Po Kyin along with Elizabeth's vapid nature and cruel fate seek to deny him this pleasure. The other secondary characters, other Europeans, are a nasty, racist, horrid lot who revel in the mistreatment of the 'natives' while simultaneously basking in their praise and idolatry of the white men. It's obvious that Orwell, who spent time in British India, knows his subject and disdains his fellow Europeans. His alter ego, Flory, enjoys the local customs and the richness of the Burmese culture, but is vilified for this by his fellow men as well as Elizabeth. There is little hope for the future of these people or the state of British rule, and the result of reading this book is distaste and revulsion, not for the native men, but for their slavers. Which is probably Orwell's point. One takes little comfort in the fact that these days have past, knowing that this kind of thing is still going on in various countries around the world, but not at the hands of the British. Small favor, that....more
Lourey, a successful murder-mystery author, has begun a promising foray into magical realism with this tale. While maybe a bit too reminiscent of AlicLourey, a successful murder-mystery author, has begun a promising foray into magical realism with this tale. While maybe a bit too reminiscent of Alice Hoffman, particularly Practical Magic, the story is strong, the characters are engaging, and the premise is promising.
Katrine Catalain returns to the small Minnesota town in which she grew up, reeling from her husband's betrayal, to find comfort with her family (who happen to be witches). She's been away for 15 years, and a lot has changed. For one thing, her sister Jasmine doesn't seem to want to do magic anymore and although Katrine believes it was Jasmine who called her home, Jasmine doesn't seem to want anything to do with her. While Katrine comes to terms with her heartbreak; gets to know her young niece, Tara; and tries to repair relationships; she is unaware that the family curse is stalking both her and Tara, and that Jasmine's secrets might be the key to breaking it.
Being a sucker for both magical realism and Minnesota authors, I just had to request this book when I saw it come available on NetGalley. I was really not at all disappointed! I hope to read more from this author, and wouldn't mind another book set in the world of the Catalains....more
Wilder interrupts her narrative of her own life to tell us about how her future husband grew up on a large farm in New York State. Young Almanzo enjoyWilder interrupts her narrative of her own life to tell us about how her future husband grew up on a large farm in New York State. Young Almanzo enjoys helping his father with chores relating to caring for their animals, sowing and reaping their crops, and building various equipment for use around the farm. The narrative drags at times as the process of cobbling shoes and building a bob sled is explained in excruciating detail, but other pursuits are fascinating to read about such as the process of breaking young calves to pull carts and milk feeding a pumpkin. Young children will benefit from this, as with all the books of this series, but understanding the work their turn of the century counterparts had to engage in as young people, as well as the manners they were taught. Older readers will be interested to read about processes for crafting things prior to machines and stores made products more available to anyone with the cash to purchase them. ...more