#reviewsdaytuesday Tumblr posts

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    Title: Dawnshard

    Author: Brandon Sanderson

    Summary:  Dawnshard follows the story of Rysn, the Thaylen merchant whom we’ve seen before in the Interludes of the first three books of the Stormlight Archive series.

    Rating: ★★★★★



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  • My 2019 Reading List and Goodreads Rating

    1. One of Us is Lying by Karen M McManus (4/5)

    2. Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean (4/5)

    3. Looking For Alaska by John Green (4/5)*

    4. Caraval by Stephanie Garber (4/5)

    5. Vicious by VE Schwab (5/5)

    6. Nevernight by Jay Kristoff (2/5)

    7. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden (4/5)

    8. Sadie by Courtney Summers (5/5)

    9. The Wicked King by Holly Black (4/5)

    10. Legendary by Stephanie Garber (4/5)

    11. Red Rising by Pierce Brown (2/5)

    12. Northern Lights by Philip Pullman (3/5)*

    13. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken (5/5)*

    14. Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M McManus (3/5)

    15. The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman (3/5)*

    16. The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton (2/5)

    17. The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima (3/5)

    18. A History of Notable Shadowhunters and Denizens of Downworld by Cassandra Clare (4/5)

    19. One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake (4/5)

    20. Vengeful by VE Schwab (5/5)

    21. Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan Mcguire (4/5)

    22. The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman* (2/5)

    23. King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo (3/5)

    24. TruthWitch by Susan Dennard (3/5)

    25. Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan Mcguire (4/5)

    26. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (5/5)*

    27. Nocturna by Maya Motayne (4/5)

    28. Finale by Stephanie Garber (5/5)

    29. Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moira Fowley Doyle (3/5)

    30. Uprooted by Naomi Novik (2/5)

    31. The Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu (4/5)

    32. Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff (3/5)

    33. Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan Mcguire (4/5)

    34. Windwitch by Susan Dennard (4/5)

    35. The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord (3/5)

    36. The Paper and Hearts Society by Lucy Powrie (3/5)

    37. Ghosts of the Shadow Market by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Kelly Link and Robin Wasserman (4/5)

    38. The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen (3/5)

    39. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater (5/5)*

    40. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater (5/5)*

    41. Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson (4/5)

    42. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (5/5)*

    43. Again, But Better by Christine Riccio (5/5)

    44. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (4/5)

    45. The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp (1/5)

    46. Perfectly Preventable Deaths by Deirdre Sullivan (3/5)

    47. Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland (4/5)

    48. Other Words for Smoke by Sarah Maria Griffin (3/5)

    49. Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper (3/5)

    50. Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake (5/5)

    51. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (5/5)*

    52. Opal by Maggie Stiefvater (4/5)

    53. The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper (3/5)

    54. Greenwitch by Susan Cooper (3/5)

    55. The Gray King by Susan Cooper (3/5)

    56. Silver on the Tree by Susan Cooper (3/5)

    57. In An Absent Dream by Seanan Mcguire (4/5)

    58. Five Dark Fates by Kendare Blake (4/5)

    59. Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater (4/5)

    60. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern (5/5)

    Books with a star (*) are rereads.

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    Title: Starsight

    Author: Brandon Sanderson

    Summary: All her life, Spensa has dreamed of becoming a pilot. Of proving she’s a hero like her father. She made it to the sky, but the truths she learned about her father were crushing. The rumors of his cowardice are true–he deserted his flight during battle against the Krell. Worse, though, he turned against his team and attacked them.

    Spensa is sure there’s more to the story. And she’s sure that whatever happened to her father in his starship could happen to her. When she made it outside the protective shell of her planet, she heard the stars–and it was terrifying. Everything Spensa has been taught about her world is a lie.

    But Spensa also discovered a few other things about herself–and she’ll travel to the end of the galaxy to save humankind if she needs to.

    Rating: ★★★★★


    I’M BACK! Well, kind of. I had been in a massive reading slump and only reading for school but Brandon Sanderson, being the greatest ever, got me out of it. I still have a week of school left and finals but I am in the mood to read again. Onto this masterpiece of a book.

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  • SYNOPSIS: The second book in Marie Lu’s Warcross duology, this sequel follows Emika Chen during the aftermath of the Warcross Championship Games from the first novel. This series is set in the future, when a VR technology called the NeuroLink has become a major part of the way most people live. In the first book, Emi participated in popular VR game Warcross while working undercover to try to stop a hacker from carrying out a mysterious but seemingly malicious plan.

    RATING: 3/5

    REVIEW: This book was really enthralling. The stakes kept rising, there were twists and turns everywhere, the enemy kept changing, but along the way, the developments didn’t exactly make sense haha. It was like Marie Lu was making it up as she went, but the story still had me gripped the whole time. It was way easier to get into compared to the first one, because the first book already ended on a really dramatic note, so you’re kind of just picking up where the story left off.

    I will say I am definitely not reading this series for the character development. They’re all kind of flat, even Emika. Her relationship with Hideo … is still strange to me. Her friends don’t have much depth, so I don’t really have any investment in them.

    I recommend reading Warcross and Wildcard because they’re fun. They probably won’t make a lasting impact on you or anything, but they’re fun.

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  • SYNOPSIS: This is a memoir about a father who is dealing with his son’s addiction to meth.

    RATING: 4/5

    REVIEW: David Sheff is a very talented writer, and he skillfully portrayed the emotional impact of his son’s addiction on his life and his family. I learned a lot about meth and addiction (NEVER MESS WITH THAT STUFF!!!), and even though I have never known someone personally who has suffered from addiction, Sheff’s portrayal of family was relatable and heartbreaking at times. I knocked off 1 star, because I felt like the repetitive nature of this story caused it to not hold my attention the whole time, but I feel bad saying that, because this book presents true events … Anyways, this was a really beautiful book, and I found it enlightening.

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  • SYNOPSIS: A historical fiction!! Takes place in the Ottoman Empire and follows Mehmed the Conqueror, Vlad the Impaler, and Radu the Handsome as children during the years leading up to what I assume is the fall of Constantinople? Idk, 1453 is probably going to pass by in the sequels, but this is an alternate history, so I’m not sure what White is planning. Also, Vlad the Impaler is a girl in this story! Her name is Lada, and she is a fierce young lady.

    RATING: 4/5

    REVIEW: I think the strongest component of this book is its 3 main characters. They were all pretty strong, and I really enjoyed following their journeys and relationships with each other! The politics and setting were interesting as well, but towards the latter half of the book I honestly felt like the plot was kind of dragging on, and I wasn’t really sure where it was going haha. I like Kiersten White’s writing style though, and I liked seeing her perspective on this particular time in history.

    I recommend this book!

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  • I’m 2 chapters in. It’s really good, y'all.
    A young woman who grows a cold heart in order to take over her father’s moneylending business (reads Jewish). Another young woman whose father is a farmer who can’t pay his debts. Some creepy weird ice creature obsessed with gold.

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  • For next book club meet, I picked a memoir, Amanda Lindhout’s House In The Sky. In 2008 she went to Somalia as a journalist and was abducted by Muslim extremistd and held hostage for 460 days. The writing is fantastic so far.

    Now, one of the soldiers guarding her and her photographer colleague/exlover bares a resemblance to Donald Trump, so that’s how nickname. This is mildly hilarious, but I don’t really want any full-fledged political talk in the book club meet… though that’s probably already shot.

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  • Good book. Historical fiction. Cat for scale.
    “What if the US Gov. sent white women to marry with Native Americans in 1873 and then we could have their perspective of the whole American Indian War?”
    A little self-indulgent, but in a satisfying way. Super enjoyable though unexpected romance.

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  • In which I review Heathers: The Musical starring Carrie Hope Fletcher, currently on at The Other Palace in London, and soon moving to the Theatre Royal Haymarket.

    #quiet as mouse #youtube#heathers #heathers the musical #reviewsdaytuesday#Mouse Reviews
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  • Review: Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X Kendi

    An excellent, amazingly comprehensive piece of writing. I decided to read this when it won the National Book Award, not expecting it to be over 500 pages long, but duh obviously of course it is. Kendi piles on evidence upon evidence to drive home a few primary points: racist ideas come in different strains, outright segregationist and more camouflaged assimilationist, both of which are racist; bold, anti-racist action that forces those in power to act in an anti-racist way out of their own self-interest is far more effective in the long term than attempts to educate white people on the plight of racism or to persuade white people that Blacks can be “just as good” as them through modeling exceptional (assimilationist) behavior; and MOST importantly, that racist ideas do not beget racist actions - rather, racist actions beget racist justifications in the form of ever-evolving racist ideas. I particularly enjoyed the last portion of the book, focusing on the life and work of Angela Davis. With a few of the tiniest caveats (I would have liked to hear more about Kendi’s take on cultural appropriation of Black culture by white people, which he seemed to wave off as not that important), this book was a home run for me, and a definite must-read for these times.

    #reviewsdaytuesday #only authors of color in 2017 #books#reviews#race
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  • @tyleroakley wrote a book. I read that book. Now I just have to share my thoughts about said book with the world, because it was JUST THAT GOOD! So many feels were had during the reading and filming of this video! It’s also one of the best videos I’ve made, EVER! Thank you Tyler on the super amazing book!

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  • (Spoiler-free review)

    This book is fantastic.

    Let me just start by saying that Fangirl was fantastic. I loved that book so much as I was reading it. It was like it was written just for high school / college me. I still cannot get over how good Fangirl is.

    Carry On is better.

    Rowell took her character’s characters and gave them life. She wrote the eighth book in a series, but made me feel like I’d been there for the whole ride of the first seven. She took the magical school, chosen one story, and she made it better. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Harry Potter, but for Crowley’s sake, what does Rowling have against technology? Or Normals for that matter? No spoilers, but I think Rowell wrote a story that fixed a couple of holes that Harry Potter had left behind. And I LOVE the way they cast spells. Leave it up to a master word-smith to come up with that magic.

    And what I really love about this book is the thing that is making all of our inner Cather’s squeal. I was really afraid that when we got the book it would be Rowell’s version of Gemma’s Simon Snow. Instead, we got Rowell’s version of Cath’s Carry On. Now, you might be saying, “Of course; that’s the title.” But I really wasn’t sure what to expect. When I first heard about the book, I tried to find out, were we getting the “official” literature or the fanfiction? Luckily, Rainbow Rowell is awesome and she gave all of her fangirls (and boys and etc.) exactly what they wanted.

    Now bring on the Carry On fanfiction. ;)

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  • I’m actually posting my review, today, on the day I said I would.  (And doing a little Dance of Productivity.)

    Here goes:

    I read Station Eleven because I heard the author, Emily St. John Mandel, on a Tor.com podcast.  The podcast is called Midnight in Karachi and I’ve only listened to a few episodes, but what I’ve heard has definitely expanded my To Be Read List.

    You know, because “Nothing to read” was a problem I was having.

    At any rate, Ms. Mandel commented that the one of the things that inspired her book was a line from Star Trek Voyager.  “Survival is Insufficient.”  Ok, so I was a fan of Voyager.  (You can chalk that up to youth if you want, but I liked that show, and I’m long since past apologizing for things I like.)  I also think this line is one of those fundamentally true statements that gets ignored significantly more often that it should be.  During an emergency, you start with food, water, shelter, and space.  After that, as Mandel (and Voyager) point out, those basics really just aren’t enough, and once you get past that initial shock you need to be able to expand your horizon past fundaments out to things like art.

    By now you’re probably wondering if I’m ever going to talk about the book. 

    I’m getting there, I promise. 

    (Did you know, I’ve been meaning to try to make these reviews like 300 words.  I’m already past 200.


    Station Eleven is a Time Hop Post-Apocalyptic Literary Fiction Mystery Novel™.  It opens with a production of King Lear, in Toronto.  It is an unusual production: 3 young girls (the princesses) are playing onstage prior to the performance and reappear later as an hallucination.  In Act 4 the actor playing Lear, a man named Arthur, collapses, and a member of the audience rushes the stage to give him CPR.  Arthur dies, inside and onstage, and while the curtain is drawn and the ambulance is called, outside, quietly, the world is ending.

    A flu outbreak went from underreported and innocuous to world-wide pandemic in a matter of days.  As Arthur dies onstage, sick people being filling the local hospitals.  Within a week, everyone who was sick has died, and everything has stopped.

    In Year 20, there is a Traveling Symphony walking through the Midwest, performing Shakespeare and orchestral arraignments.  They have “Survival in Insufficient” stenciled on the side of their lead wagon. 

    Because this is a THPALFMN (Yeah, I don’t think that acronym is going to stick) the story skips back and forth from Before – focusing on Arthur’s life, his friends, and his family – to After – focusing on Kirsten (she’s the 8-year-old who was playing Cordelia during Arthur’s performance), her life, her stories, and her memory.  We meet major people in both their lives, and see what happens to many of them, and some of it was so cool I was cheering portions of the book, but I didn’t think that was the coolest part. 

    The coolest part was the interconnectedness.  While essentially following one person over parts of 20 years, we get the stories of another half dozen.  We don’t learn about just Arthur and Kirsten, we learn about the Symphony and the man who rushed onstage during Act 4 of Lear.  Admittedly, this level of interconnectedness, especially given a reality where everyone is a pedestrian and North America is a hugely big place, is probably far too coincidental, but I didn’t consider that until just now.  I thought it felt like “six degrees of separation” and it made me smile.                  

    I hate writing these, because I don’t want to give anything away, but I want to say three more things about this book without telling the story of this book:

    I was told this book was sad and I disagree.  I think it has a quiet hopefulness, a grace in the way it makes a statement about the kind of people we might be, if given the option.  Or the kind of people we are when we are given no option.

    I fell asleep holding this book two nights in a row.  I finished a chapter in the parking lot before work.  It was so gorgeously written I didn’t want to put it down.

    Mandel offers up characters that are compelling and real, but somehow seem to be missing whole chunks of their own stories.  Arthur reaches a point where you wonder if he knows if he’s acting.  The characters in the comic book want to go home, but have no memory of it.  Kirsten has just enough memory of Before to question whether things really happened or if she’s just heard enough stories that she’s imagining it. 

    Last thing: (Yes, I said three things and I lied. Sorry.)  I picked up this book because I’ll basically read anything that mentions Shakespeare.  I thought that the Traveling Symphony and their motto were designed to imply that you need Art-with-a-capital-A to really live, but if that was Mandel’s point, I think she may have missed the mark.  I think she shows that you need compassion, family, and the minor joys, in addition to Art-with-a-capital-A to really live.

    That’s all folks.  Have a good Tuesday!

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  • Sorry I just have to. I mean, a lot of people who I trust told me it was amazing, so I went in with pretty high expectations, but still… dAMN. (Spoilers below)

    Firstly, I thought the movie was extremely true to the book. It might help that it’s been a year or so since I’ve read the book, but still. Of course, it’s a movie so some things had to be different: the clues went by a lot faster, it was prom instead of graduation, Angela comes with them on the road trip (but quite honestly I have negative 500 problems with that, angela is the best), and my favorite quote, “It is so hard to leave—until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world,” wasn’t in there… But in this movie, like in tfios, it was okay that not everything was there, because the movie captured the themes and emotions of the book so well that I could easily imagine that all of the omitted scenes had been there (if that makes any sense). For example, my other favorite quote: “As long as we don’t die, this is gonna be one hell of a story,” wasn’t included either, but you could veritably FEEL it in just about every one of the road trip scenes.

    One thing that did strike me as a little different (and I think might be why a few people have been not understanding the movie) is the plot arch of the ‘imagining people complexly’ theme. In the book, as Q follows Margo’s clues, he starts seeing all these little new sides to her life that he had no idea existed. Also, the Whitman helped point a little to this theme. (Right there was a lot less Whitman in the movie, which makes sense because it’s a movie and John always says that was the most boring part of the book anyway. I kind of liked the Whitman, but then again, I’m a huge nerd.) In any event, by the time Q gets to Agloe in the book, he’s already starting to realize that Margo isn’t the girl he’d always dreamed her up to be. However, it can be hard to incorporate subtle changes like this in movies, so in the movie, Q arrives in Agloe and still has no idea. There’s a lot of cringe-worthy awkwardness of Q genuinely thinking he’s ‘in love’ with Margo and just agh jesus get over yourself. So, if you fail to understand what happens next, I guess I could see how you could walk away from this movie thinking that Q is a ‘greasy white boy madly chasing after his dream girl’ or whatever. (I still don’t understand why you think it’s okay to attack John about this. but that’s a rant for another time.)

    HOWEVER. Paper Towns becomes the first movie adaption ever which actually GAVE ME NEW INSIGHTS ON THE BOOK (seriously 5 million awards to you guys this is absolutely stunning), because as opposed to the subtle realizations, Q’s very sudden being proved wrong about his image of Margo spells things out a lot clearer than they were in the book. Paper Towns has always been my favorite John Green book (besides WG, WG), but I’ve always felt a little let down by the end because while Q acknowledges that Margo is human, she still doesn’t seem human to us: the reader. I mean, who just skips college and runs off to travel the U.S. with no money at eighteen years old??? She just disappears into the smoke, and has always felt more like a symbol than a character to me. But, I think I realized last night that (and I may still be wrong) that’s sort of the point: we can’t ever fully understand Margo because, as Q put so perfectly in the movie (I swear that line was not in the book- did I just miss it?): this isn’t her story. Paper Towns is without any doubt Q’s story. Margo’s perspective isn’t one we’re ever going to be able to fully understand because she isn’t given a chance to show us her perspective. We can speculate, but in the end, that’s just defying the point of the book. Of course then, the scene ends with a kiss, which is something I could have done without in both the movie and the book, but that might be more about pleasing viewers than anything else (romance movie is nOT aCTUaLy abOut rOmANCE??? i doNt understANd??? guy muSt kisS the girL that is hOW thIs woRK yEs??) And also, movie kisses are made out by movie watchers to be much more meaningful than they are. Like in real life, kiss does NOT equal AND THEYRE MARRIED YAY HAPPILY EVER AFTER people kiss each other all the time (not that I’d know HAHA.. ha … ha… ha. ha. … … … ah.)

    My only minor complaint would be that my favorite, Lacy, never got to have her final word with Margo (not that it was a particularly healthy ending in the book, but as her best friend who drove all the way to NY bc she was genuinely worried about Margo, it feels unfair that the guy who was unhealthily obsessed over her is the only one who actually gets to talk to Margo.)

    As Hank so beautifully put, the movie is about real, relatable people. There are so many laughing-so-hard-you-cry or else cringing-with-so-much-second-hand-embarrassment moments that wouldn’t be half as meaningful if it wasn’t because every single person in the movie theatre was picturing themselves and their friends doing the exact same thing. In fact, on this note, let me just get a little personal for a second (apologies).

    So I’m about to go off to high school this fall, which, for me, is 5% oh my god and 95% aaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH Yeah. I went to see the movie with my sister, who just graduated from the high school I’ll be going to, and has lots of nostalgia so thus is very excited for me to attend. And, by coincidence (ok not really, our town is tiny), we happened to drive by that very high school on our way home (with a very fitting song playing, too). I’ve always been able to relate to Q a lot, because I’m definitely the type who equates skipping school with C E R T A I N   D E A T H, even failing one quiz in one class probably won’t have any affect on my GPA. I’m a perfectionist and I stress out way to much, but it’s likely that cutting just a little of that stress is not going to put an end to my straight As. So, even though I’m still not exactly looking forward to it, and I’m sure I’m still going to stress too much, hopefully I’ll remember that, when I look back on it, the memories that I made with my friends, and the times that I paused and allowed myself to actually be interested and excited in what I was doing are going to mean much more to me than the grades I got in my classes.

    In any event, if you haven’t yet, everyone go see Paper Towns; it’s one of the best movies that I’ve seen in a long time, and without a doubt the best movie adaption of a novel that I’ve ever seen.

    #reviewsdaytuesday #not really i mean its wednesday #bUT I SAW IT ON A TUESDAY OK IT COUNTS DAMMIT #apologies for the rant #wallofcow#paper towns #paper towns movie #natt wolff#cara delevingne#john green#original #a moment in jesse history
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  • With very few spoilers and possibly more thoughts on the human condition than you might want, after the jump:

    My friend and I laughed earlier this week about our shared love of animals.  She gets attached to the baby ducks she passes on her runs, so her boyfriend tries to herd her away from them, because she is sad when there is suddenly only 1 when she saw 10 last week.  I, not at all surprised by this story, asked if she had made him stop the car yet to move a turtle out of the road.  She and I have both been known to do this, and we did it a lot as kids, though I guess everyone must have.  She laughed and said 3 times.  “He’s getting to the point where he’s on the look-out.”

    This anecdote is indicative of our approach to problem-solving.  We are active.  I think we were both raised to be “community-aware.”  I think globally, and act within my local variable scope, and while the scope may vary, I think my willingness to act shouldn’t.  I think if I can solve problems, I should.  When President Bartlett turned to Mrs. Landingham and said “What’s next?” I felt amazing kinship to that fictional president, because I believe that is how you should make your impact.

    So it would probably be shorter (if less strictly accurate) that I’m just not great with inaction.

    Which is probably one of the reasons I thought Time Salvager was so freaking cool!

    Wesley Chu’s new book, which has already been optioned for a movie (also very exciting!), is about a ChronMan James Griffin-Mars, a man whose job is to jump back in time, steal things, and affect as little as possible.  You need a power source; that ship that disappeared on so-and-so date had one.  We know where it was last seen.  Jump back there, steal it, and don’t cause any ripples.   Need some food?  I know of a ship that sank in a storm, fully loaded.  Go for it!

    I, the history major, reading this book thought “COOL! You could see all of the awesome bits of history!”  And the book is set several hundred years in the future, so there would be even more cool stuff to which you would have access!  This job is awesome!

    Except for that ripple bit.  James must not (and it is spelled out to him very clearly, he MUST NOT) affect the time line.  Things are not going well for the species in his native time, and time-space can only take so many changes before Terrible Things Will Happen.  Rule number one is that you can’t save anyone from the past.  They are already dead.  You can’t fix it, can’t change it, shouldn’t worry about it, just grab your salvage and get home.  James’ job is to “do nothing” – the definition of inactive.

    I could not do this job.  I stop for turtles on the road.  If someone sent me back in time to steal something from Pompeii right before the mountain blows, I would start a mass exodus so big, someone would have to write a book about it.

    (Would they call it Exodus II, do you think?  HAHAHA.  Because there’s already a book of Exodus….  Ok, it wasn’t that funny.  I’m leaving it in though.  I thought it was funny.  Come for the book review, stay for the punny punny jokes.)

    Anyway, James is suffering under the burden of having left people behind in this job for almost 20 years.  It is the most peculiar form of survivor guilt, because even the people he works with, who should best understand, don’t seem to get it because one of the rules is that these people are already dead.  That rule doesn’t help when you are the one having to talk to them, while you steal from them, when you know you will live and they won’t.

    In case you haven’t already guessed, James cracks and breaks rule number one, and that’s where the cool time travel book gets cooler, because it causes a whole raft of problems he now has to deal with, and they aren’t the kind of problem he’s used to solving.  The book really kicks into gear once James makes that choice and I didn’t put it down after that.  He has to float along in a universe where he’s being hunted and he’s winging it the best he can, and I adore it.  I read Time Salvager in one sitting and I will read it again, and soon, to see what I might have missed the first time.

    #reviewsdaytuesday#book review#wesley chu#Time Salvager#scifi#time travel#amazeballs #read in one sitting #reread #I thought this book was great and I really hope there is a sequel #sorry this is so long
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  • Reviewsday Tuesday: Out of Order by Casey Lawrence (me!)

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  • Smoke Gets in Your Eyes & Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty

    Rating: 5/5

    Genre: Non-fiction/Memoir

    Read: Dense/Moderate/Easy

    Half memoir and half death/funeral education book Smoke Gets in your Eyes is an honest, hilarious, and compassionate look at death and dying in modern-day America. A medieval history major turned mortician, Caitlin Doughty weaves together personal stories, historical tales, and modern day practices in an accessible entertaining fashion. In an attempt to demystify death and the modern funeral Doughty unpacks all the gruesome, odd, sometimes callous, and sometimes hilarious practices of the American funeral industry. These practices, Doughty believes, have served to white-wash the image that we have of death. The made-up corpses peeking out of caskets, pristine dead bodies on the coroner’s table of our favorite crime shows, detach us from the reality that is death and decomposition. In the past people were intimately acquainted with death and decay. Embalming did not come into practice until the mid-1800’s as a way to stave off the stench of the rotting corpses of fallen soldiers. Since then the scrubbing, pickling, and making-up of corpses has not only become common practice, but a booming industry. In this book Doughty encourages us to think about death and what it means to us. She encourages us to embrace death as an inevitable and complementary part of life.

    If you have not seen Caitlin’s show Ask a Mortician on YouTube go watch it RIGHT NOW. Not only is it a hilarious and educational show, but you will get a great sense of who she is and what she sounds like. As I read this book I read it in her voice. I feel like I know exactly how she would say certain lines and I can picture the look on her face as she says them. I often hear that you know you have a good book when it makes you both laugh and cry, especially if it is within the same page or chapter. Doughty has an immense talent of being both brutally and compassionately honest about one of the most distressing topics around. She is able to inject humor in a way that entertains and eases the stress of dealing with such a heavy subject without being crass or offensive. In the chapter Demon Babies she discusses the current cremation process for infants and fetuses. Heavy. Sad. Tear inducing topic. Yet somehow she managed to pull out multiple jokes in this chapter that, instead of seeming tasteless and inhuman, eased the pain I was feeling about this topic and allowed me to really take-in the information without becoming overwhelmed. Kudos to you Caitlin.

    My greatest fear is dying. I know for most people it is public speaking or highest or even spiders, but I find the inescapable inevitability of death terrifying. I don’t want to grow old and die. Nope not for me, thank you very much. I would like to opt out of that. When I confess this to people one of the most common responses I get is, “Well since you can’t do anything about it why bother worrying.” FYI this is not a helpful statement to make. Yes, the message is accurate, death is an inevitability, but simply stating this does nothing to help me embrace this inevitability. Doughty’s message is similar, but instead of saying “You’re going to die, deal with it” she unpacks death and lays it bare before you. Even though the visage is a grim one, she holds your hand, cracks a joke…or twelve and tells you the truth. While I cannot say that I have been cured of my fear of death I am well on my way to a better understanding and an acceptance of my inevitable fate. I also have some great info on how to deal with my remains or the remains of my loved ones so that when the time comes it won’t be such a shock. If you have a curiosity about death, funerals, your own mortality, but you have always been too scared or queasy about the subject then I would recommend this book. While you are not going to get out of this without hearing about eye caps, skin slippage, and severed heads it will be done in what I think is one of the most honest, tolerable, and entertaining ways possible.

    Have I mentioned that I am on Goodreads and that you should send me a friend request?

    #reviewsdaytuesday#reviewsday tuesday#book review#book recommendation #smoke gets in your eyes #caitlin doughty #ask a mortician #order of the good death
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  • Well, I’m moving blogs!

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  • It’s Reviewsday Tuesday! This week I review Dinard (Iwan Rheon’s new album), Cyberbully (the US TV movie), and Jules and Monty (the web series).

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