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oblue

Obsidian Blue

Government drone by day and book lover and geek girl by night!

Currently reading

The Paying Guests
Sarah Waters
Now Not to Die Alone
Richard Roper
Lisey's Story
Stephen King
Shelter in Place
Nora Roberts
Elevation
Stephen King
The Drawing of the Three
Stephen King
Sleeping Beauties: A Novel
Stephen King, Owen King
Progress: 20/720 pages
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Things I didn't know!

I just lose bookmarks all over the place. I need to get some that stick to the page or something. 

Reading progress update: I've read 1 out of 144 pages.

The Furthest Station - Ben Aaronovitch

I was just waiting to start this one and Lies Sleeping. Can't wait to catch up with Peter!

Reading progress update: I've read 99 out of 368 pages.

Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture - Roxane Azimi

My aim is to finish this by Monday. Right now it's pretty grim to read/sit through in one sitting which is why I have taken so long to finish it. 

This Should Either be 5 Stars or Negative 100

Her Closest Friend - Clare Boyd

Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.

 

I have no words guys. I stayed up until 1 am finishing this book. It's engrossing because at times you can't believe how bad the writing and flow is. I kept reading because I was wondering if the character of Sophie was finally going to snap and take out her closest friend Naomi. And I was baffled at how dumb Naomi was about a lot of things. So I just sat back and enjoyed a so-so book. Then we get to the bonkers ending and my jaw dropped. I don't even know. I want to say Boyd is kind of brave for just going down a truly dark path and not backing away from it. A lot of times authors just don't lean in enough to where a plot is going IMHO. And Boyd goes there. If only the 2/3 of the book had those same smacks in the faces this would have been a very good thriller. 

 

"Her Closest Friend" is a siren warning to all of us women out there who have toxic friendships. You know what that is. The one friend who no matter what it seems can't help saying something cutting to you when you have something wonderful happen to you. The one that reminds you of the time you walked around for an hour at an party with your skirt tucked into your pantyhose. That one friend who always posts shitty pictures of you on Facebook and doesn't get why you are mad that she looks like she got a glow up in the same picture. 

 

Naomi and Sophie have been friends since they were 18. Now they are in their early 40s and are on different paths in their marriages. Naomi is happily married with two daughters. She has a successful blog (seriously authors, give the women in your books another job). The only fly in the ointment is her feeling like she is on suffrage when she is dealing with Sophie and her up and down mood swings. 


Sophie for her part is dealing with a failing marriage, an old grandfather who seems to speak in riddles and like vodka, and a son with eczema. Sorry, that last part was mentioned in the book a lot. Apparently it is a sin among many that a young boy can have. I don't know. 

 

We quickly realize that Sophie is off her freaking tree. She stalks Naomi and gets angry if she doesn't text her back right away. She is jealous of Naomi's perfect life and think that she owes her. We find out slowly (and in a mind numbing way) why Sophie feels this way. I had to call bullshit over the whole thing that Sophie is holding over Naomi's head though. It made zero sense why Naomi owed anything or was responsible. And I hated the book even taking the whole thing seriously. I always want to ask these women do they not know any lawyers to advise them?

 

The book just goes back and forth between both women. As Sophie keeps trying to cause Naomi harm in small and then big ways, you have Naomi just dealing with it and snapping at her husband and descending into a bottle. 

 

The two women's husbands in this one are not very developed. They were just there to either say something about the one woman or the other and in one case to worry constantly, but not do anything. 

 

The book moves back and forth between both their homes and other locations. Mostly though we have Sophie in her cottage and realizing that she also owns a big house that she won't move into.

 

The ending as I said was a shocker. I re-read it a few times to make sure that I got all of what Boyd was putting down. I thought the justification at the end was nonsense, but had to admire Boyd for going dark. 

No One Was Likable

Swimming Lessons - Claire Fuller

Wow. No one was likable in this one except one character (Nan). Maybe you can read a book about fairly unpleasant people, but I tend to not be able to especially when the writing isn't that great either. The ending was a laugh too. I think Fuller wants to have a sense of mystery about Ingrid Coleman, but if we are supposed to believe what Fuller is hinting at, she's probably the worst of the Coleman's. 

 

"Swimming Lessons" is about the Coleman family. About 11 years ago, the family matriarch (Ingrid) either ran away or died while going off to swim. Since that has happened, the Coleman's have barely been able to put themselves back together. Her husband Gil has an accident one day when he believes he sees Ingrid. This causes his youngest daughter Flora to return home to help her sister Nan in caring for their father. This causes many things below the surface to erupt regarding Gil and how little he was there for either of his daughters.

 

Gil is supposedly a well known writer (he wrote one freaking book) and a professor. It quickly comes out that Gil is not what he seems via Ingrid's letters. I found myself bored though reading Ingrid's POV about Gil. I don't know why we were not imparted with his character either via Nan or someone else. 

 

Flora is selfish. She's in a whatevership with a guy named Richard who I also found aggravating. It seems as if Flora is going to repeat a bad pattern with being with someone she's at best ambivalent about, and at worst is indifferent towards. 

Nan is only 26 or so and had to step up to take care of everyone around her. I felt so sad for this character especially after reading what Ingrid was afraid to come to pass with her daughters.

Gil needed to be more to me. He didn't sound impressive at all. You are supposed to feel some sympathy towards Ingrid for being pulled into this great man's orbit. However, I just didn't get that sense. Maybe because when we see him, he's obviously broken by the loss of his wife. Gil and Ingrid reminded me superficially of the movie "One True Thing" with Meryl Streep. Here was supposedly another woman trapped by the supposed genius of her husband with a daughter that did not see her mother clearly. I pretty much wanted to go and rewatch that movie and put this book down. 

 

Fuller decides to tell the story from Ingrid's POV (she leaves letters for Gil in their books in her home for him to find) and we jump back to the present following Flora and her aggravating butt. The book doesn't hang together well at all. Maybe if we had one of the girl's finding and reading the letters it would have improved the flow. Instead it just felt like the letters were filler. I was more interested in the fact that apparently Ingrid in her letter's wrote the name of the book that she was placing the letter in, which makes zero sense. The idea was her husband would find the letters and obviously know what book it was placed in. I assume that was for the reader's sake.

 

The setting of this falling down house by the water is just sad. You can see the house and its contents are from another age. Flora is resistant to let go of the past and Nan just wants to move on. 

 

The ending was a mess. You are left with leaning towards one about what became of Ingrid, and it just made me annoyed. 

Completed at 100 Percent

Swimming Lessons - Claire Fuller

Wow. No one was likable in this one except one character (Nan). Maybe you can read a book about fairly unpleasant people, but I tend to not be able to especially when the writing isn't that great either. The ending was a laugh too. I think Fuller wants to have a sense of mystery about Ingrid Coleman, but if we are supposed to believe what Fuller is hinting at, she's probably the worst of the Coleman's. 

 

"Swimming Lessons" is about the Coleman family. About 11 years ago, the family matriarch (Ingrid) either ran away or died while going off to swim. Since that has happened, the Coleman's have barely been able to put themselves back together. Her husband Gil has an accident one day when he believes he sees Ingrid. This causes his youngest daughter Flora to return home to help her sister Nan in caring for their father. This causes many things below the surface to erupt regarding Gil and how little he was there for either of his daughters.

 

Gil is supposedly a well known writer (he wrote one freaking book) and a professor. It quickly comes out that Gil is not what he seems via Ingrid's letters. I found myself bored though reading Ingrid's POV about Gil. I don't know why we were not imparted with his character either via Nan or someone else. 

 

Flora is selfish. She's in a whatevership with a guy named Richard who I also found aggravating. It seems as if Flora is going to repeat a bad pattern with being with someone she's at best ambivalent about, and at worst is indifferent towards. 

Nan is only 26 or so and had to step up to take care of everyone around her. I felt so sad for this character especially after reading what Ingrid was afraid to come to pass with her daughters.

Gil needed to be more to me. He didn't sound impressive at all. You are supposed to feel some sympathy towards Ingrid for being pulled into this great man's orbit. However, I just didn't get that sense. Maybe because when we see him, he's obviously broken by the loss of his wife. Gil and Ingrid reminded me superficially of the movie "One True Thing" with Meryl Streep. Here was supposedly another woman trapped by the supposed genius of her husband with a daughter that did not see her mother clearly. I pretty much wanted to go and rewatch that movie and put this book down. 

 

Fuller decides to tell the story from Ingrid's POV (she leaves letters for Gil in their books in her home for him to find) and we jump back to the present following Flora and her aggravating butt. The book doesn't hang together well at all. Maybe if we had one of the girl's finding and reading the letters it would have improved the flow. Instead it just felt like the letters were filler. I was more interested in the fact that apparently Ingrid in her letter's wrote the name of the book that she was placing the letter in, which makes zero sense. The idea was her husband would find the letters and obviously know what book it was placed in. I assume that was for the reader's sake.

 

The setting of this falling down house by the water is just sad. You can see the house and its contents are from another age. Flora is resistant to let go of the past and Nan just wants to move on. 

 

The ending was a mess. You are left with leaning towards one about what became of Ingrid, and it just made me annoyed. 

See Into the Beast

The Beast's Heart - Leife Shallcross

Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.

 

Well, this was okay. No big issues really, I just found myself bored reading it. We have how many retellings following Beauty from Beauty and the Beast? Well we get one told from the Beast's point of view. I compared this book a bit to "Beastly" since that's the only book I have read that told the story from the Beast's point of view. I have to say that this Beast doesn't seem to have been pretty pathetic. The author starts off with us following him after he's been turned. The flow though was off from beginning to end. Nothing picks up and I just didn't feel a sense of urgency about finishing (why it took me so long to complete).

 

"The Beast's Heart" has us following the Beast with Shallcross incorporating some Young Adult themes too. I for one would love it if we had a more adult Beauty and the Beast like with Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton. Man, I was in love with Vincent...

 

Image result for beauty and the beast 1987 gif

 

Okay, back to the book. We have the Beast going through his tale of woe and of course he eventually meets his Beauty (Isabeau). Shallcross doesn't really do anything new with this. I think telling the story in the Beast's POV should have made me more engaged with the story, however, it just didn't work. Another reviewer mentioned how old the Beast sounded, and I got that feeling too. At one point I wondered if he was 100 years old or what. Some readers noted how this book was very voyeuristic since you get to read about the Beast spying on Isabeau's family via his magic mirror. The magic mirror plot device was in the cartoon, musical, and the latest musical. I think it's bothersome in this one since he uses it throughout the book to watch/spy on Isabeau. 

 

Isabeau doesn't have much to do in this book. She just seemed kind of okay about the whole thing with the Beast. I needed to believe that she fell in love with him and needed him just as much as he needed her, and I never got that sense. Then again, she was a prisoner of his and was forced to keep him company. So you can see why as a reader she seemed to be kind of meh on things. I think "Beastly" was smart to move this into modern times and also include his "beauty's" consent to stay. 

 

The house is another character in this one. No you don't have things talking to you. But as the relationship between the two characters improve, so does the castle. 

 

Isabeau has sisters in this one unlike with the Disney version of Beauty. I have to say the main reason why I gave this 3 stars is that the sisters were a nice saving grace in this book. Shallcross has Marie and Claude as independent young women who struggle without their sister. Including them reminded me a bit of "Hunted" by Meagan Spooner who followed the sisters along with the main character of Yeva. Besides following Yeva, we followed her sisters who had to get along with her being there and had their own romances. 

 

I really thought the writing was okay, nothing that really grabbed me. It just read as being try hard at times with Shallcross trying to mimic older fairytales. I get it, the Beast isn't modern, but good grief, it needed to make me want to keep reading. I think honestly this book was too long. This was over 350 pages and the flow of the book was slow throughout. It's okay if an author does that because the book is building to something great that is going to blow your mind. I didn't get my mind blown here. I just started getting more and more bored and wondering when they were going to get together to break his curse.

Not as Good as Christie

And Death Came Too - Richard Hull

Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.

 

Well. This was a bummer. I was hoping for a smart and interesting murder mystery. I just didn't like how this was written sadly. We had many characters and Hull doesn't develop them enough for you to care. The book also ended on a weird note before pushing me to another book that he wrote. I have no interest of that one at all.

 

"And Death Came Too" follows a group of people (Gerald Lansely, Martin Hands, and Patricia Hands (sister to Martin and fiancee to Gerald) who decide to take up an offer made by Arthur Yeldman to visit his hoe called Y Bryn. No that's not a typo. Yes I re-read

that many times wondering what the heck.
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Off they go and once arriving meet someone named Mr. Salter and a mysterious woman (of course) and then we just have people talking amongst themselves. Eventually we have a murder (thank goodness).Arthur Yeldham is found murdered and no weapon has been found. So of course Hull has a lot of clues here and there left as the investigation heats up for you to try and figure out who done it.

 

I can't say much about all of the characters. Hull doesn't spend much time with any of them for you to care much. I think it doesn't help that when you start this book, you start mid-conversation among everyone and you have no idea who the heck anyone is and it feels muddled. 

 

I kept hoping for someone to emerge as my Poirot or Marple and no dice unfortunately. We get Detective Sergeant Scoresby who I wasn't feeling at all while I read this. We spent most of our time with the police and it's pretty evident that there are fractures building among the characters. I started to compare this a bit to Marple's Inspector Battle book, "Towards Zero" since there are some very light similarities here and there. 

 

Also, not going to lie, it's pretty obvious who did it in this one. I at least want to be tricked you know? 

 

I compared the writing to Christie and found it lacking overall. Christie is able to breathe life into mostly everyone (not counting some of her later works like The Third Girl) and you feel like smacking yourself upside the head when you get to the ending and Poirot and Marple reveal who did it and why. 

 

The ending was so weird. Seriously. One character is talking, another breaks in (bitterly) and character one yells out that they are being left with nothing, not even their respect and that's it. I kept reading for another chapter. No dice. 

TBR Thursday Library Reads: February 14, 2019

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Under the weather and trying not to snap on a team member who wants to fight me on every piece of feedback I have given today. I was supposed to be on sick leave and stayed up late last night reviewing a report. Then today I was supposed to be off. Oh not so fast Blue, our boss comes back with comments on a draft document we sent forward. I asked team member 2 to address the formatting issues and he goes, well can you do that? So that's my day. Surrounded by men who want to argue with me or not do anything but wait for me to send them back something. Being a manager is a PITA. 

 

Borrowed: (12)

[More detail about this title is available][More detail about this title is available][More detail about this title is available][More detail about this title is available]

[More detail about this title is available]Cover image for The Drawing of the ThreeCover image for Elevation Cover image for Swimming Lessons

Cover image for The Gilded WolvesCover image for Lisey's StoryCover image for Shelter in Place[More detail about this title is available]

 

 

Hold: (13)

 Cover image for The Time Traveler's WifeCover image for YouCover image for CIRCE[More detail about this title is available]

[More detail about this title is available][More detail about this title is available][More detail about this title is available][More detail about this title is available]

[More detail about this title is available][More detail about this title is available]Fingersmith - ebookMaid - ebook

The Night Tiger - ebook

 

Read (3):

 

Cover image for Colonel RooseveltCover image for Once Upon a RiverCover image for A Blade So Black

March is for Friends

I plan on reading a lot of books that were gifted to me by Chris, Tigus, and others. I hope to finish them all this month. I promise the "friends" stack has it's own place at my house. I just haven't had a chance to dive into anything.

 

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A Question of Booklikes

Are the admins still here? Do they still care? At this point I feel like yelling.

 

You can't find books anymore that are "new". I don't mind adding new books, but I can see that BL's inability to pull books via ASIN, ISBN, title, or author is going to be an issue down the line if we all are expected to just keeping adding new release books because the search function is permanently not working.

 

I had to add every one of my new release books since January and it's aggravating to have to keep doing that here. I kept thinking if I even waited to the release dates for some, that BL would show it, but nothing doing. If someone else using BL doesn't add it, it just doesn't show in the search function at all. I am not too clear on how BL show up here, but at one point I recall an admin contacting me to let me know that BL pulls from Amazon. Or at least it used to. So I don't know if that went away or not. If it did, maybe bring it back? 


I also loathe the face when I am adding a new book, BL decides it's going to try to merge authors when it's clearly not the same person. I typed in someone today and they linked to someone with a hypenated second name and it's pretty apparent that's not the same person based on my scan of the authors via Goodreads. I added a book by HJ Ramsay, well BL decided it's really Gordon Ramsay and after changing two times I got fed up and just sent a report to the librarians. 

 

This isn't even getting into the the newer accounts that are rapidly disappearing. I sadly saw three accounts shut down permanently over the past month because each of the people said one of the following 1) no one is returning their emails, 2) they have weird spam/sex accounts following them, 3) there doesn't seem to be a way to meet other BL, 4) and the library database seems very limited compared to Goodreads. 


I know that some of us suggested that BL when setting up an account needs to direct people to a FAQs page and also maybe to the new BL to follow discussion thread so they can have some of us older BLers to follow and we could follow back. 

 

I miss the Friday Follows because that is how I found out about a lot of people. I remember when they did or talked about maybe (I can't recall) doing spotlight reviews every month for most number of comments or likes on a review. I know that they were doing author blog posts for a while. With the issue we had just recently about us not being able to comment on our own dashboard until we cleared our cache out shows that there may be a website issue too. 

BL's website has been showing not secure for me since December. I have no idea what that means. 

 

BL did a Facebook post on December 18 so at least someone is around.

 

 

 

Sadly, BL hasn't tweeted since August 2018.

 

 

I know that last time our sleuths went on the hunt to figure out if BL had been sold, and after all of us pestering them for about a week they finally popped back up again. That said, I am loathed do have to do that everytime. If the owners and admin don't step up to run the site, then I wish they sell it to someone who wants to maintain it and make it grow.


There were talks of an app that went nowhere. We were discussing the ability to link among multiple accounts which doesn't seem to be working very well. I had to unlink this book from my GR reading list since it kept messing up my shelves. I did link my Kindle to BL, but I don't know what that does exactly. It doesn't save my notes/highlights like GR does. 

 

Anyway, that said, I want to stay here til the lights go off. I just want to make sure people can find me. I am at Goodreads and you can find me here:  https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/35942740-obsidian

 

Colonel Roosevelt

Colonel Roosevelt - Edmund Morris

So I am a moron. I had no idea there were two other books before this one. I felt like I got plopped into Theodore Roosevelt's life and felt confused. Once I realized that I was on the third book I felt better since I was all, why is the book acting as if I read about Theodore Roosevelt before now? 

 

I have to say though that my attention kept straying away while reading this. I thought that Morris does a good job of bringing Roosevelt out as a man who is out to explore Africa after completing his run as President after his second term.  I just found most of the book to be a bit colorless after we have Roosevelt returning from Africa and hell bent on being the savior of the Republican party. This of course caused the great "schism" and the Bull Moose party of progressives emerged. 

 

Morris does a good job I think of showing all sides of Roosevelt. He's not a saint, he's a flesh and blood man that at times refused to listen to those around him since he thought he knew best. The book also goes into his other expedition which led to him getting ill and then following him and his family through World War I. I just wish that the book had managed to keep my interest throughout. I don't know if this book should have been broken into two volumes, with volume I following Roosevelt before WWI and then after or what. I think there was so much going on with Roosevelt and his family at times I was left a bit overwhelmed and feeling like I had forgotten some things and having to go back to check myself. 

 

I read this on my Kindle and was happy to see that the plethora of notes that Morris had actually worked. My big complaint though and why I stopped reading the notes after a while is that my book wouldn't take me back to the place I was in the biography. This books is ridiculous full of notes and the historian in me was happy to see them. But it sucked for me as a reader since I kept getting taken out of my place and had to scroll back to wherever I was. I also was happy to see the pictures and other illustrations that were included.  

Once Upon a Time...

Once Upon a River - Diane Setterfield

Yes! My soul needed a good magical realism book. It was crying out for it you guys. "Once Upon a River" delves into many characters but manages to thread the needle with keeping an eye on the main plot from beginning to end of this book. I absolutely loved "The 13th Tale" so I was looking forward to see what Setterfield did with this. She weaves stories, fairy-tales, and myths together to tie around the Thames River and the people who live alongside it.

 

"Once Upon a River" starts with an inn called the Swan. Everyone tends to gather there to hear the innkeeper's husband tell stories. And can you imagine it in your head. A cold wintry night. A crowded inn with men and women together in order to beat back the cold. Listening to stories and laughing. And then a half dead men is brought in with what many take to be a puppet. And then everyone starts to realize that the puppet is a dead girl. After calling upon the village nurse/wise woman, the dead girl is somehow alive. And though the girl won't speak, many characters end up being drawn to her and want to lay claim to her. 

 

The young girl is proposed to be the missing girl of the Vaughans family who disappeared two years earlier. The wife is insisted that the girl is their daughter Amelia. And then a man named Robert Armstrong appears wondering if this girl could be his potential grandchild Alice. And then we have some side characters who wonder about the girl's identity and propose that it could be (whispered) and you wonder on that for the whole story too. 

 

Your heart bleeds for the Vaughans and for Robert Armstrong who is hell-bent on making sure all of his family are together and well taken care of no matter what. And you feel sad for the village nurse who has taken a shine to the girl though she is adamant she will not marry or birth any children. 


Setterfield's writing is fantastic in this. She manages to make sure every character have their own unique voice, but also everyone is developed so well. I don't know who I liked the best, but have to go with Robert Armstrong and his love for his wife, and their family. I could picture him in my head. Robert could have had his own book when you read about how he came to be, how he became a farmer, and why does he keep loving a song that rejects him every step of the way. Also can I say this, Robert needed to beat Robin's tail, like a lot. That said, I was so sad in the end when you have Robin finally realizing what mistakes he made. 

 

I will say that the flow of this book is slow and that you have to keep reading to see how things are revealed. Setterfield doesn't rush this book or it's characters at all. I think that readers will be happy with the resolutions of all the story-lines. 

 

The setting of the area felt full or magic and promise. I loved the idea of stories being carried down long after people pass away and how those stories can turn into myths which hold some truth to them. 


The ending was wonderful. I honestly wouldn't change a thing.

Curiouser & Curiouser

A Blade So Black - L. L. McKinney

Well this was an interesting first book in a planned trilogy (I am guessing). There's enough there to maybe have me read book #2. The world building was interesting, but didn't delve enough in the end. The character development of everyone in this book was not great. I absolutely hard sighed at a love triangle showing up which I am sure is going to get more play in the next book. I also think that the time jumps didn't help matters and I think that there needed to be even more tie-ins to Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland." This is a retelling/reimagining of that book so you need to have some key characters showing up. The whole Nightmare monsters thing really didn't work for me at all and that's probably because McKinney didn't set it up very well.

 

"A Blade so Black" follows 17 year old Alice as she fights monsters known as Nightmares in a place called Wonderland.

 

The initial set up of how Alice finds out about Nightmares was interesting, but it ended up showing what I think are the largest issues I have with the book. Alice is told something random by a character (in this case Hatta) and then all of a sudden the book time jumps several months and then jumps to a year later. So going by the book math, Alice is told that she has to fight and possibly die to keep Wonderland safe when she is what, 15? The whole thing made my head hurt. Considering that Alice is dealing with a pretty significant life event when this all happens, I can see why many readers found this jarring. You don't get a chance to settle in with Alice before the book forces you into multiple action scenes. 

 

Focusing on Alice. I feel disappointed in how there doesn't seem to be much there, there. We know that she's a black girl living in Atlanta. She has two best friends, Court and Chess. She also is a great sewer, into cosplay, and apparently Sailor Moon. Oh and she can fight. I just needed more time with just her, by herself, not figuring out how to lie to her mother (badly) and how she can keep throwing herself into the deep end in Wonderland. The love triangle aspect didn't help matters either. I felt like she just liked the two objects of her affection because they were there. I also felt a bit....off about the fact that there seemed to be no black boys that she was interested in. And that's not saying that I am against bi-racial relationships. It just seemed weird to me that Alice's only friends is a light skinned bi-racial girl, and a white boy, while she lives in Atlanta which has a huge population of black people.

 

Speaking of Alice's friends, they are merely there to advance the plot and or to show Alice feeling torn. We only really see sparks in the character when she is around Hatta who is her mentor/teacher about how to fight Nightmares. We get some revelations around this character throughout the book, but nothing was a surprise with Hatta. Courtney annoyed the life out of me for acting like a spoiled brat in this book. Chess I didn't care for at all. I really wanted to know why Alice had zero other friends and apparently no cousins or anyone else that wouldn't be checking in on her or hanging out. I couldn't walk out the door of my house without a random cousin in my face. 

 

The writing was choppy I would say. McKinney relies too much on information dumps to impart information to Alice or others and we also don't allow Alice time to figure out things. I don't think the time jumps helped. It would have been a better idea for book one to just have our Alice explore Wonderland and be trained by Hatta. And that way readers could become more immersed in the world and have a better understanding of the kinds of things that Alice could do and why she was able to. Book two could have been the plot line that this book followed. 

 

The world building as I said was interesting. McKinney takes Wonderland and gives it what I would consider the Tim Burton treatment. However, there is a lot there that doesn't make sense and doesn't work. For example, why are zero adults able to fight Nightmares (I don't even recall if the book said why) and why there are not more people like Alice that can fight them? You would think that Hatta's main purpose would be to find others if Nightmares are such a scourge and all. I am also disappointed that we don't get more reimaginings for key characters like the White Rabbit, the Caterpillar, the March Hare, the Doormouse, etc. I think I only saw some of that with Hatta (the Mad Hatter), Chess (maybe the Cheshire Cat), and Dee and Dum. She tries to tie things into an original Alice who came to Wonderland which I assume pops back up in book 2, but that was left largely unexplored here. 

 

The ending didn't work at all. Having a book end on a cliffhanger drives me up the wall. You still have an ending for a particular book/saga/quest. I also didn't exactly understand what I was reading either, so that made it confusing. 

Reading progress update: I've read 100%.

Once Upon a River - Diane Setterfield

Wow. This was so good. Stories within stories following so many families. Setterfield held my interest to the last page. One reason I am so tired this morning is that I stayed up past midnight to finish this. I had to figure out the mystery of the little girl who so many families claimed. 


Loved the Armstrong clan (Robert and Bessie) and the Vaughns and Rita and everyone else too.

 

The tale of Quietly and his connection to the river held all of the other stories together and made me want to read even more tales of those who lived along the river. 

 

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