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Joined 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Hi! I'm delighted to find Bookwyrm. I read mostly literary fiction, but I also enjoy mysteries, fantasies, and science fiction.

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The flamethrowers (2013, Scribner) 3 stars

Review of 'The flamethrowers' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Rachel Kushner 's writing is awesome. This is a long novel, and even if I didn't always know where it was going, it held my attention. The characters and situations are intriguing in this memorable novel about a young woman coming into her own during an interesting time.

Babel (Hardcover, 2022, Harper Voyager) 4 stars

Traduttore, traditore: An act of translation is always an act of betrayal. 1828. Robin Swift, …

Review of 'Babel' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

This memorable novel is both ingeniously creative and importantly timely in its message. R.F. Kuang weaves together a story that injects magical realism into a novel that is both historical and revisionist. That is, this is a story that asks us to imagine the road not taken at a certain time in history, and the ethics of the decisions of those in power–and question how and why such power came to be, in the first place.

I felt that the characters were well-developed and realistically complex, making it possible for the reader to feel the emotion in their stories. The plot was also well crafted and paced.

Instead of summarizing the plot, I want to simply recommend this novel, which I knew nothing about before I started reading. Part of the magic, for me, was simply reading on to discover the shape of the world as it is created by …

The Guest List (Paperback, 2021, William Morrow Paperbacks, William Morrow & Company) 4 stars

Review of 'The Guest List' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

This murder mystery that takes place during an extremely pretentious, extravagant wedding, and surprise, the bride and groom are both thoroughly unlikeable. Also, some of this story is predictable, while other parts seem like wild coincidences. And yet, I enjoyed this very much. The manner in which each character's story unfolds, and then how they come together, is effective and satisfying.

This was fun, and I do recommend it.

Review of 'Buzz Books 2023' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

This is the first time I've perused such a fabulous preview of future publications, and I love it. The organization is helpful, as it's always exciting to see debut authors. This treasure trove will certainly guide me in selecting some of my reading this year.
Thanks to Netgalley for making this available.

Review of 'Please Report Your Bug Here' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

Please Report Your Bug Here, by Josh Riedel, is a mixture of coming of age, social commentary, and fantasy novel. The protagonist is Ethan Block, who has a liberal arts background but is working on a start-up social media site called DateDate. He works with just two other people, known as the engineer and the Founder, until they are bought by The Corporation, a bigger social app that appears to be modeled on Facebook.

During his employment in social media, Ethan is witness to the dawn of certain technologies, and how, in the pursuit of wealth, this social media platform is willing to expose the general public to potential harm with features that are not completely understood. This is where it becomes part fantasy novel. The author creatively conjures up a possibility that does not seem possible in real life, at least not literally, to drive a plot about social …

Review of 'Clytemnestra' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Greek mythology is usually fascinating, and this novel lives up to that expectation. I did not remember much of the Greek mythology I’d read, and certainly did not know who Clytemnestra was until reading Costanza Casati’s work.

Born in Sparta to a ruthless Spartan King, Tyndareus, and Leda, the intelligent, shrewd queen, Clytemnestra is brought up to be the same. She is trained to fight and to value power and dominance. Unfortunately, Tyndareus’s daughters would all find what is was to be their father’s pawns, traumatic for women who were trained to be strong.

Clytemnestra’s character is imagined with nuanced complexity. She rages with hatred, wanting vengeance for those she has lost, but is also capable of intense love. Clytemnestra is one well-written, solid protagonist.

Her royal family is also depicted in detail, especially Helen, who I’d incorrectly associated with Troy instead of Sparta. There is more than one version …

Fairy Tale (Hardcover, 2022, Scribner) 4 stars

Legendary storyteller Stephen King goes deep into the well of his imagination in this spellbinding …

Review of 'Fairy Tale' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

An ode to the fairy tales we've all heard, very nicely written. The characters are sympathetic and the plot moves along at a steady, engaging pace. I'd recommend it.

Review of 'Eternal Lei' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

This is an entertaining mystery set in Kaua’i, during the worst days of the pandemic, when small businesses and schools were all closed. Viewing the pandemic’s effects on a vastly different place and culture than my own was the most intriguing aspect about this story.

Actually, I feel that this novel is just as much drama as mystery. There are many characters involved, and their stories do not necessarily have much to do with the mystery, but do show the reader the everyday struggles of life on a remote island during an economic downturn.

All the background stories also highlight how important the main character, Leilani Santiago, is to so many people. Naomi Hirahara has certainly invented a strong and likable female protagonist. I found this to be a light and enjoyable read.

Thank you to Turner Publishing Company and Edelweiss+ for this enjoyable experience.

Birnam Wood (2023, Granta Books) 5 stars

Review of 'Birnam Wood' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

This fascinating thriller takes its name from a forest featured in Shakespeare’s play McBeth. Like that famous play, this novel is populated with flawed individuals whose ambitions prove hard to balance with their morals. Accidents, deceptions, and cross purposes make for a complex, exciting plot.

In Eleanor Catton’s new novel, Birnam Wood is the name of a small nonprofit organization that seeks to plant crops in unused spaces, sometimes with permission, and sometimes not. There is certainly some lawlessness and trespassing going on, but the group’s members see it as a necessary evil in their mission to help those in need and to work for a more fair society. Before I read this, I was not aware of guerilla gardening.

There are four main characters in this book, plus two important supporting roles. Mira and Shelley are prominent members of Birnam Wood, and their relationship is complicated. They’ve been close …

Review of 'Ink Black Heart' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

It is super rare for me to finish a book this long in under three weeks, but I found the plot of this mystery extremely addictive. The characters were intriguing and there were plenty of developments and surprising plots twists. The Ink Black Heart was especially intricate.

As usual, I found all the details about the the agency's cases fascinating, and the relationship between partners Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott continues to entertain.

Bravo! I'm looking forward to the next installment!

The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove (2004, Harper Paperbacks) 4 stars

The town psychiatrist has decided to switch everybody in Pine Cove, California, from their normal …

Review of 'The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

This is quite the zany read. If this hadn't been foisted on me by a friend, lustful lizards would never have been on my radar, believe me. And yet, I was very entertained. There are a few parts that are very funny. So, if you're in the mood for a light read that is humorous in a surprisingly smart way, I recommend it.

NW (2012) 4 stars

NW is a 2012 novel by British author Zadie Smith. It takes its title from …

Review of 'NW' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

The star of this novel is Zadie Smith's writing. It's a thoughtful exploration of the lives of four people who grow up in the same area of London, especially the two friends Leah and Keisha/Natalie. I especially admire how the author imagines different dialogues and demonstrates the different expectations and world views of her characters. Overall, it's melancholy, but manages to end on a hopeful note for the two main protagonists. There is a pleasing symmetry to their relationship.

This is beautifully written, and it will stay with me for awhile.

Eva Luna (Paperback, 1989, Bantam) 4 stars

The history of a woman born poor, orphaned early, and who eventually rose to a …

Review of 'Eva Luna' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

This is another very engaging story by Isabel Allende. Eva Luna has been an orphan since her early childhood and by the time she comes of age, has lived several different lives. A gifted storyteller who can weave together many pasts and futures, she eventually discovers meaning and purpose for her talents, as well as a family of her own.

I found this story and its characters fascinating, with its touch of magical realism and realistic chaos. Most of the story takes place in an undisclosed country in South America, sometime in the late 1960's, I believe. The variety of cultures and the political warfare of the times make a compelling backdrop for Eva's story.

This was a good read!