Friday, February 5, 2016

My Reviews: The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood is unlike anything I've ever read (heard.) The Claire Danes narrated audiobook can best be described as a dystopian futuristic warning wrapped in poetry and imagery. It is a beautifully dark told story from the point of view of a woman set in this future who has memory of the world before and after its dramatic change. Told in a train of thought narrative, she reveals through her own experience how women all over the US were swept up in Puritan Regime under the guise of making them safer and protecting them from inherent faults of men. Suddenly, women who once were educated, employed, and with hopes and goals were gathered together and "re-educated" into new traditional roles of wife and caretakers. But in this world, the roles of wife, homemaker, and childbearer have become separated, especially among the richer, more prominent men as a result of a rising rate of infertility and stillbirths due to the chemicals and pollutants from the world before. Not allowed to read, write, or even to speak freely, those women forced to wear red, The Handmaids, are now valued for little more than their bodies.Their sole purpose is to produce children for the families of the Commanders. The narrator draws the reader (listener) into the story immediately and the suspense only builds from there. The most frightening part of it all is that it is told so well, that you can almost believe it to be a true possible future. Thanks to this audiobook, I could not wait for my commute to and from work each day.

Friday, January 23, 2015

My Reviews: Seed (Keepers of Genesis Part 1)

22441671I downloaded this book as part of the #IndieBooksBeSeen Book Club's Group Read for the month if January. It was a quick, enjoyable read, mostly done while on vacation this week. here are my spoiler-free thoughts - Honestly, the prologue almost discouraged me from continuing the novel further. I did not enjoy the omnipotent POV and worried the entire book would follow suit. Thankfully, it did not, and I continued on in hopes of finding something more based on the book blurb and positive reviews. I did find the first person POV of Sage Woods to be mostly, shall we say "refreshing?" In general, I felt her voice to be believable and age-appropriate overall. I enjoyed that she was an intelligent, educated, well-traveled woman and that her inner voice mostly reflected that but did not ignore the fact that she was also a 17 year old girl newly graduated from high school finding herself in an uncomfortable predicament against her will. I appreciated the multitude of literary, musical, art, biblical, and historic and even cinema references throughout. The research of this novel is amazing. Granted, I have not fact checked much of what was written so I am taking it at face value that at least some of it is historically accurate, and it certainly felt so while reading it.

*******MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD***********

Essentially, Seed tells the story of Sage Woods, daughter of a world renowned archeologist, who finds herself suddenly sucked into a world of Fallen Angels, powerful forces. and ancient mysteries where she must take on a key role in order to essentially protect the world from evil that most humans know nothing about, all while also finding herself madly in love with the irresistible half-man/half-angel sworn to protect her. To her surprise, she finds that he shares those feelings despite his better judgement.

Specific things that I loved:

-The Twins - I found Sage and Saffron to be interesting, unique, developed characters whom I am excited to read more about

-I loved that Sage didn't seem to enjoy or endorse the "Damsel in Distress" role, and continually challenged the older men around her to see her as an equal and a partner

-As mentioned before, I enjoyed the multitude of literary references, finding many a bit-tongue-in cheek, especially those referring to other well known PNR couples and fantasy worlds, especially as I noted many parallels in Seed and some of these other stories - the immortal being finding himself inexplicably in love with the clumsy, much-too-young, plain-Jane who he later learns possesses unique "gifts" and becomes her sworn protector, even at risk of his own life all while fighting against his incredible physical desires for her and his own angsty self-hatred

Things I found difficult:
-the immediacy of the attraction between Sage and St. John bothered me... not the concept, mind you. I can handle the concept of immediate "love at first sight/soul mates/bonded lovers etc, but I wasn't sold that that was what was behind this relationship. To me, it all felt most like a school girl crush between a that high school nerd and the college-aged new guy in town

-I found "clumsiness" flaw to be bit too cliche and cringed with every trip, wobble, swoon, and faint

-Okay, I get the St John is ridiculously attractive with his imposing height, muscular build, luscious tanned skin and golden curled locks cut just so, but enough already! Must she really mention it on every other page?

-St John's speech patterns are recurrently referred to as being unique and somewhat timeless, and yet most of his dialogue, other than the times he is quoting someone else, seemed anything but that.

-I do not believe a highly educated, fairly wealthy man such as Sage's father, with clear expectations that his daughter would obtain a advanced education and use her knowledge and skills would so willingly "bless" the engagement of his 17 year old daughter to his much older colleague after only two months time in the 21st Century, even with the multitude of stipulations placed on that blessing. Equally, what 17 year old girl with those goals suddenly does a total 180* flip in priorities after just a few weeks? I mean, I appreciate that the man is half-Angel, gorgeous, smart, ridiculously wealthy and well connected, but to go from never-been-kissed to Forever-and-ever in such a short time seemed difficult for me to wrap my thoughts around. Add to that the strong possibility that said relationship and children from said relationship could be potentially life-ending, seems like a crazy commitment and against that character of Sage Woods which was so carefully crafted earlier in the story.

-Can we say WTF to the abruptness of the ending? I felt annoyance when I reached the ending and found that Part II is not even yet available. Guess I should have looked into that prior to spending the >$4 to purchase it. My own fault really.


So in the end, would I recommend this book? Definitely - to those folks who like a romantic twist to their Urban Fantasy/Paranormal mystery/thrillers. It was a fast, engrossing read with a unique plot line - a bit like Angel and Demons/Da Vince Code meets Twilight. But be warned - Part II and Part III are not yet available!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014



Enjoy this special opportunity to get these wonderful titles for only $0.99 each Dec 26-Jan 1. Beyond the Reach of Judgement is included. Click above for the link for further details.

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