Thursday, May 29, 2014

Heaven knows I was never born to be the avenger of guilt

It's Thursday again which means it's time for another Lady Audley's Secret readalong post! Thank you Alice for hosting. Sorry to those of you not taking part in the readalong as I bet these posts are boring to you. Next time maybe you'll play along because really, this is most fun.

Robert is all annoyed that Lady Audley won't run away and save Sir Michael from embarrassment when Rob outs her as Helen Talboys. I know this is supposed to be Rob trying to make it so his beloved Uncle is shamed in this scandal but this really just feels like Rob severely underestimating her cos she's some wispy girl. Hey, remember when she killed your bestie? Yeah, stop giving her warnings.

Rob is refusing to let Georgey grandfather visit him at school AND is making sure his care packages don't get to the boy and dammit Rob, what the fuck? I mean, I KNOW Captain Malden wasn't the best guardian for the boy but you can't even let him have some supervised visits or at least let him send the kid some sweets. Are we supposed to think Rob is really great for saving Georgey here? Cos right now I sort of hate him.

Sir Michael gets sort of sick but the doctor tells him not that sick so I don't know why everyone is so worried. Other than it gives Rob the chance to creepily stare at Lady Audley until she'll make eye contact with him, while I'm SURE Alicia is giving Rob dirty looks. What I wouldn't give for a movie version of this.

Rob questions the doctor and then later tracks down Lady Audley's past to a couple school teachers and at this point, I'm tired of Rob's quest. Unless the whole Lady Audley = Helen Talboys turns out to be a BIG red herring, we got this figured out all ready so watching Rob shamble to the same conclusion is getting tedious. Can we skip ahead to Clara and Rob: vengeance duo? There is at least a Miss Tonks and she hates Lady Audley, because Tonkses know what's up

I'm not saying Lady Audley's murderiness is a good thing or George deserved to die, I feel like everyone in this story is glossing over his abandonment. And apparently it was only one or two weeks after Georgey was born. Not that this news has any effect on Rob because he's still super in love with his dead friend. Also because Rob is kind of a jerk and all about abandoning children as well (see leaving Georgey with random waiter and dumping him at school while refusing him the comforts of familiar faces, aka his grandfather).

"I will go into the churchyard," [Rob] thought, "and stare at the tombstones. There is nothing I can do that will make me more gloomy than I am." - and Rob goes into his emo teenager stage.

While I'm getting tired of Rob, Clara is still winning me over. Of course she's only been in two brief scenes BUT STILL. I appreciate her meeting with Rob in the church.

Rob: But what are YOU doing here?
Clara: ...I told you I'd be coming here. Come on, it wasn't even that long ago.
Rob: **stares awkwardly at Clara**
Clara: Right, so you said you were going to tell me if you had news about my brother. Have you even been doing anything?
Rob: ...What? OH! That. Yeah I found out some more stuff.
Clara: Were you going to bother to tell me?
Rob: Later. I need to make sure I tell the killer first. Then I'll tell you. I am GREAT at detective-ing.
Clara: It's Lady Audley, isn't it? Look, that took me like 3 seconds.

Rob tells Lady Audley everything he knows. Just...all of it. Lady Audley faked her death to take up this new life that she is a big fan of and she already killed one person to keep her life so why Rob thought this was going to work out well for him is anyone's guess, but she already told him she's going to work on having him committed to an insane asylum, and I heart those were a grand ol' time back then. Rob, what exactly was the upper hand you thought you had?

Lady Audley starts planting the seeds of Rob's insanity in Sir Michael's mind. Well, not so much a subtle planting as screaming in Sir Michael's face with a bullhorn that Rob is crazy and needs locked up. But MEB hasn't been great a subtly this whole time, so this is probably as close as we'll get.

Of course then Phoebe shows up and gives Lady Audley the opportunity to just burn the Castle Inn down with Rob locked inside. Also Luke and some other guy, but they were mean so they can die too. Lady Audley is not to be fucked with.

But Rob's fine. Of course. Which is too bad cos the story could have switched to Clara getting vengeance for everyone.

How did Rob get out of the Castle Inn in one piece? And did the others make it?
How great would it be if George isn't down the well and really did run off and then he shows up again and is all "Oh I just ran off cos that's what I do. I'm back now. I bet you didn't even realize I was missing"?
What's Phoebe going to do now that her Inn is burned down?
Will Alicia continue to say hilarious things? (calling Rob a peripatetic, patent refrigerator" and a "sluggish ditch-pond" and saying he would only care about her if she had inflamed lungs)

Title quote from page 171, location 3298

Braddon, Mary Elizabeth. Lady Audley's Secret. Amazon Digital Services. Originally published 1862.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Blood on his fists. Rage in his heart.

You guys are already familiar with Chuck Wendig, right? If not you need to fix that. His blog is great, his Twitter feed is great, and his books, at least the two I've read, are also pretty great. About a year ago I read Mockingbird and decided I had let too much time go by (and also the book was on sale) and I picked up his urban fantasy book The Blue Blazes.

The Blue Blazes takes place in NYC, although only a small part takes place in the NYC I know. Most of it takes place in this NYC under our feet, somewhere filled with demons and evil creatures invisible to those on the service that aren't blazing. Meaning those who have taken this drug, a blue powdering substance, and applied it to their temples which lets them experience this secret world. Those that control the Blue are in a position of power, and Mookie is the brawn for such an organization. Mookie is a brick wall of a man with a love for charcuterie and a contentious relationship with his daughter.

Things are changing in Mookie's world. The boss is sick and the question is who's going to take control? Mookie's daughter Nora seems to have some big plans. The boss's grandson also has some plans, and asks Mookie if he could find the rumored Death's Head pigment to help his grandfather get better. Mookie may not believe in the other pigments but he has a job to do so he goes to scour the Great Below. Of course nothing can be simple so Mookie deals with gobbos and ghosts/undead (but not zombies) and snake demons and roller derby gangs and all kinds of things both on his side and trying to destroy him.

This is urban fantasy but also noir. It's violent and action packed. It's also touching. Mookie isn't a genius but he's not all brawn and no brains. His relationship with his daughter is complicated, as is Nora's relationship with him. The Great Below and the denizens that reside there are creepy and treacherous.

If you already know Wendig you have an idea of what you're in for. And what you're in for is wonderful. It was such a good story and one that surprised me at several turns. And at the heart of the story is Mookie Pearl. He's far from perfect but he wants to do what's right to his daughter and to the organization. He's loyal and caring and not someone to be crossed. And of course there's Wendig's writing. Don't let the violence and vulgarity get in the way of how good the writing is. (And really, it's not that the writing is good in spite of the violence and vulgarity. It all works together in beautiful, bloody harmony.)

You don't control an explosion so much as politely suggest what you want it to do and then pray.

Survivors are like amputees: a part of them cut off, a phantom feeling and false limb put in place as a piss-poor replacement. Hobbling around. Never quite whole again. He doesn't know how death is for the really truly dead, but for those left standing in its wake, it's the worst thing in the world.

If you like crime fiction, if you like noir, if you like Wendig, you should check this out.

Title quote from location 3249

Wendig, Chuck. The Blue Blazes. Amazon Digital Services, 2013. Kindle edition.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Foul deeds have been done under the most hospitable roofs

Guess what! It's time for more Lady Audley's Secret! I say this with exclamation points, well, one because it's awesome. And two because I am all messed up this week and keep forgetting what day it is. See what happens if I alter my weekly routine in the slightest? I can't decide if today (Weds) is Monday or Sunday or Friday. Those aren't even close. And clearly causing me to ramble, so back to the point.

Thanks Alice for hosting this. Good times!

Heads up, I also mixed up the chapters we were supposed to have read by today (Thurs, writing for the future is hard) because I am winning at life right now. I thought we were supposed to have read through chapter 26 instead of 24. I'll just pretend I don't know things. Don't worry, it won't be too hard for me to do.

Alicia gets a non-incesty marriage offer, which she declines. Obv. Although this guy Sir Harry says something about Rob being a sneaky lawyer and hmmm. Is he really sneaky? Should we be concerned about him? Or is he just jealous because Rob is Alicia's love? (Prob the later BUT STILL.)

Rob gets kicked out of Audley Court right after Christmas. Lady Audley just reeeeeeaaally wants to be rid of him. I wonder why?
Re-enactment of George's last moments
Not cool, Sir Audley, telling him how he could stay as long as he wants and that he's like a son to you, only to turn around and kick him out within the hour because your really suspicious wife tells you to.

So now Rob decides he still has more sleuthing to do and he stays at the inn that Phoebe and Luke own. DUN DUN DUN. Phoebe warns Lady Audley via what I assume are orphan children (the Victorian method of texting) that Rob is staying there. Rob and Phoebe chat and Rob keeps commenting that Phoebe is clearly GREAT at keeping secrets.
Let's assume she has big hair
Luke is not great at keeping secrets or taking hints. Phoebe keeps trying to shut him up and he will have none of it, so that's pretty funny. Rob not-so-subtly hints that he knows all about the blackmailing of Lady Audley, and I wonder how he figured that out. But then the next day Lady Audley shows up to find out what Rob's up to and also because it seems both Rob and Lady Audley feel this need to update each other on how the whole cat and mouse game is going.

Lady Audley: Didn't Mr. Talboy go to Australia
Rob: I have reason to believe he did not.
LA: What reason is that?
R: I'm not going to tell you.
LA: Fine, whatever.
R: So here's why I think he never went to Australia...

Rob gets back to his apartment in London and finds that a locksmith had been to his place apparently poking around. He said he went there by mistake until Rob points out he stayed there a really long time for someone that made a mistake. Suspicious.

Rob muses on his love of George, ("Who would have thought that I could have grown so fond of the fellow...or feel so lonely without him?") and starts spewing action hero-y lines ("Justice to the dead first...mercy to the living afterward.") which suggests he's about to start kicking ass soon.

He then goes to visit little Georgey and we get some more suspicious behavior. George's father-in-law is a drunk but a drunk that really does seem to care for Georgy and Georgy loves him, so even though it is for the best I was still sort of sad to see the old man lose the boy. But of course we have all the suspicious behavior around Mrs. Plowman trying to keep Georgey from talking. Hmmmm. Of course Rob doesn't actually take the kid in. That would get in the way of all the avengin' he has planned. Instead he sends him off to a school. So, no one kept their kids around, right?

George's father is terrible, but in an entertaining way. "I wish [George] no ill. He's simply dead to me." And Rob points out that George is more literally dead. Harcourt says that George is just faking it to get back at him because the world revolves around Harcourt. Poor guy. I'm going to assume this is his way of dealing with the death of his son. Jumping right to denial.

But Rob does meet George's sister Clara when he goes to visit Harcourt and falls for her because hey, female George. She stayed quiet while her dad was going on about how George was dead to him (and then later claiming that he's totally not dead) but runs after Rob and begs him to keep trying to solve the case and find out what happened to her brother. I like Clara. And hopefully this means that Rob and Alicia won't end up together.
Though I'm sure George Michael would prefer an Alicia-Rob pairing.

Why was the locksmith poking around Rob's apartment?
How messed up do you think Georgey is going to be?
Are Clara and Rob going to end up together? And will they team up and become vigilante super heroes?
What is Lady Audley's secret already?

Till next week.

Title quote from page 97 location 1857

Braddon, Mary Elizabeth. Lady Audley's Secret. Amazon Digital Services. Originally published 1862.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Darkness fell swiftly, at first an enemy, but then a friend

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson is like one of those "chose your own adventure" stories. Except you (the reader) aren't doing the choosing. The author did and wrote down all her versions.

Ursula Todd keeps reliving her life over again. Each time she dies, and she dies a LOT, she starts again with a vague recollection of what happened last time. She doesn't know this is happening to her. She just knows she has a very strong sense of deja vu. Strong enough that without really knowing why, she makes little changes that vastly alter the course of her life. Of course, each one ends in death and we begin again.

Ursula is born each time a snowy night in 1910. Her lives sometimes leave her in this decade; other times she makes it to the 1940s and World War II. We spend a lot of time seeing the same or at least very similar scenes, play out in different ways. Characters may play an important role or they made fade into the background. It has little wisps of the Butterfly Effect where a small change in the past makes a big difference in the future, although this doesn't seem to be the point of the novel.

Despite the fact that this isn't exactly my favorite time period to read about, I was still pulled into the story. I wanted to see what would happen to Ursula this time. Would she be able to make things better? Would this time around be much much worse? Atkinson managed to bring to life how terrible war was for everyone.

Overall I liked the structure of the novel, and kudos to Atkinson for keeping things organized because it would be very easy to make a mess of this style, but overall the book didn't stick with me. I think part of that had to do with the length. I don't mind long books but this one seemed to get too repetitive at times, and while I realize repetition is sort of the point of a reincarnation novel, it doesn't mean I'm not going to get bored with things at times.

One criticism I have, which is really a minor one and the cause of me thinking way too much about these sort of details*, is the fact that while Ursula is making changes to her life, everyone else is pretty much following the same script. Ursula is obviously our main character, but what does this mean for the others? The more Ursula relives her life, the more I realized that everyone else was just decoration to her story. Sure, maybe decoration that she interacts with. Or decoration that was a real asshole. But still. It only exists to fill in her story. And again, I get it, that's usually what happens to secondary characters in a book. But it's not supposed to feel that way. You're supposed to think of these people as having their own lives, hopes, dreams, wants, desires, free will, even if you can't see them exercising it. And maybe they are making changes, we just don't notice cos we're watching things from Ursula's point of view, but I didn't totally get that impression. Maybe that has to do with the fact that the other characters aren't really fleshed out.

*See Harry Potter & plumbing

Title quote from page 84

Atkinson, Kate. Life After Life. Back Bay Books, 2013

Thursday, May 15, 2014

I did not think men were capable of these deep and lasting affections

Another Thursday, another Lady Audley's Secret and I can't tell you how many times I go to write "lover" at the end of that title. So apparently that's what I'm hoping is going to happen. ANYWAY, thank you Alice for hosting the always fun gif-filled readalongs. Here we go.

Another section down and George is missing. Probably because he's down that well.

Poor Rob wakes up from his nap, which apparently lasts like 3 hours cos he naps like a gentleman. We know George went to the Audley's. We know Lady Audley wandered back from the garden from roughly the direction of the well. And we know George is missing. And Rob is super worried. Because Rob and George were in love. Rob just wouldn't admit it until George went missing.
"Yet here he was, flurried and anxious, bewildering his brain by all manner of conjectures about his missing friend; and false to every attribute of his nature, walking fast."
WALKING FAST, PEOPLE. You know it's serious. I mean, he hasn't walked fast since he was at Eton. I love Rob.

He figures George decided to take the train back to Southampton and goes to visit/hit on his aunt. But poor Rob can't really focus on his weird incest needs because he's worried George is going to do something rash.

Lady Audley is really focused on her stupid ringlets. The ringlets she used to try to scare Caeser away. I don't know what magical powers she thinks her hair has but the only power it has is to annoy me. She also thinks it's rude of Mrs. Talboys to die and make George sad. You're not throwing me off your scent. And Rob is starting to get suspicious of her. Maybe not super consciously, but he notices her ring, a ruby heart encircled by an emerald serpent and that sounds like some ominous symbolism there. Also sounds like a very pretty ring and I would like one please and thank you. THEN he notices a very suspicious bruise on her wrist that looks suspiciously like a handprint. You know, like if you struggled with someone while trying to shove them down a well.

Rob heads out to Southampton, and while the landlady hasn't seen him George's father-in-law has seen him and told Rob that he's heading back to Australia. On the one hand, Rob says it's odd that he'd just up and leave without telling him. On the other hand, George already did this once. You know, the whole abandoning the wife and child. So not entirely out of the character for the guy, even if I don't actually believe that's what happened. We do have little Georgey talking about some "pretty lady" that used to come visit and he insists it isn't his mom and HMMMMMMMM who could this be?

Rob goes exploring and finds a bit of a telegraph (or, excuse me, telegraphic dispatch) that seems to confirm what Grandpa said about George heading to Liverpool and then onto Sydney. EXCEPT PROBABLY NOT BECAUSE MYSTERIES.

Rob heads to Liverpool but can't find George, or any mention of George there either and decides he's somewhere in Englad, though whether dead or alive he hasn't decided. He figures the best way to find George will be to write down all of the things he does know and he comes up with a title that...well he's pretty proud of it.

We leave Rob's journey to see Phoebe and her cousin/husband blackmailing Lucy. Sort of. They don't really blackmail Lucy even though the whole idea of them blackmailing her with the baby shoe. Instead Phoebe says that if she doesn't marry Luke he's going to kill her. Lady Audley makes the good point that if he'll kill her if she doesn't marry him, he'll probably murder her anyway. But given the follow up to Phoebe's confession is "He probably won't kill me if you give us a bunch of money so he can open a bar" I assume the whole murder-thing prob won't happen. Maybe. Except Luke follows this up by saying creepy "maybe I will murder you" comments, so who knows.

Rob tells Lady Audley his theory that something bad has happened to George and dammit Rob, quit telling the (probable) villain your thoughts, unless they are expressly to throw her off.
I won't be surprised if George's father-in-law ends up dead, or at least disappeared, for not properly disposing of the telegram.

Who was that knocking at Rob's door early in the morning?
Is Lady Audley actually Medusa and Rob's dreams are prophetic?
Does Lady Audley have a secret lover?
How many more people are going to die?

Until next week!

Title quote from page 58, location 1126

Braddon, Mary Elizabeth. Lady Audley's Secret. Amazon Digital Services. Originally published 1862.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Reading agenda

I feel like most of us (us being those who read my blog and yes, we are an us. Welcome.) have a TBR pile. Whether it's an actual, physical pile or just a list kept somewhere, you probably have a basic idea of what to read next. Or at least something to dip into. But how do you decide what's next?

I realize this isn't a new question. Hell, I've probably asked it before. But I was thinking about it today so you're getting asked about it again.

1. Do you make a set list of books and the order you'll read them and stick to that?
2. Do you scan through your TBR pile and pick the book that looks most appealing right then?
3. Do you not even bother with your pile and just whatever book you recently heard about/acquired?
4. Do you do something entirely different I haven't considered here?

Typically I'm somewhere between 2 and 3. I have a small actual TBR pile. As in those books I have in front of me, either physical or ebooks. Most of my TBR is a general Goodreads list with books I've heard of that I want to make sure I don't forget about, but I haven't actually picked up. I try to stick to 2 and go through my pile and pick something there. But I seem to have a problem where if I don't read a book RIGHT AWAY I lose interest. It doesn't have anything to do with the book itself, so much as there's ALWAYS a new book and if someone is talking up this new book I'll want to go for that one even if I have a whole TBR pile just waiting for me.

I never come up with a set list of "I will read X and then Y and then Z" because I know I won't listen to me.
I'm a brat.

I was thinking about this because I realized there's another factor I use to determine what I'm going to read next. Am I doing a readalong? Because see, with a readalong, for those of you that don't know (and really, you should try them because they are fun) you're reading certain chapters together with a group and then writing a post for those chapters. But you don't want to read ahead of the assigned pages so what do you do when you've finished your week's readalong pages but still have another hour of commuting left?

A lot of the time when I'm taking part in a readalong I've picked up a Kindle copy of the book. Which means that whatever I'm reading along side this readalong book needs to be a Kindle book as well. Well, it doesn't NEED to be. But I'm not carrying my Kindle and a physical book around with me. So if I want to read something else, I tend to go ebooks.

I have a couple physical books I want to get to (Gone Girl [finally], In The Miso Soup) but thus far have been sticking to ebooks (The Blue Blazes, Rosemary's Baby). Not a bad thing, and I'm not cursing the readalong or anything. Just another random factor I noticed in determining my next read.

What factors do you consider when picking your next book?

Monday, May 12, 2014

What I am telling you, before you begin my story is this - two things: I crave truth. And I lie.

I finished Tana French's In The Woods a few weeks ago and I'm still mad at it. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

In The Woods is a detective murder mystery novel. There are actually two murder mysteries going on. Twenty years before the events of the book two young children went missing in the Knocknaree woods. There was one child left, who was so terrified he couldn't remember anything that happened to himself, his two friends, or why his shoes are mysteriously filled with blood.

We're now in the present and this little boy has grown up to be Detective Rob Ryan, a member of Dublin's murder squad. He and his partner Cassie are given a case of a murdered girl, found near those same woods Rob had been found in years ago. From the back of the book, at least my copy: "Now, with only snippets of long-buried memories to guide him, Ryan has the chance to uncover both the mystery of the case before him, and that of his own shadowy past."

I very much enjoyed most of the book. I liked the set-up. I liked both mysteries. Rob makes for an interesting narrator. Not necessarily someone you can entirely trust. Not someone I liked all the time, but that's certainly not a requirement. The book seemed to end several times. I could see how many pages were left so I knew we couldn't be at the ending yet. Then again once we got near the end I couldn't believe that things were going to wrap up so quickly. I didn't have nearly enough pages left for everything we needed to get through.

One thing I very much liked in the book was the relationship between Rob and Cassie. At least most of the time. Whenever I read a book with a great male/female friendship, I spend a lot of time worrying the author is going to make it into a romance. Not that I don't like people to be in love, but I also really like friendship and maybe we don't have to treat friendship as lesser than a romantic relationship, mmmkay?

Now, here's the tricky part with this review. The parts of the book that make me mad and the parts that involve a lot of spoilers. I wish I could figure out a way to explain my frustration without throwing a bunch of spoilers at you, but I'm not that clever. So, if you don't want any spoilers, I'll just tell you that my enthusiasm for the book began to wane until I got to the end and I got angry at it and I likely won't read the other books in this series. Cos it is apparently a series. BUT I won't say I'll never read those books. I liked it enough to consider giving it another try. But it's going to have to shape up.

For those that want more details and don't care about spoilers. Remember, these are spoilers for a murder mystery so yeah, it will probably mess up your experience of the book if you know these going into it. Spoilery spoilery spoilers. You've been warned.
Hey, remember when I included that quote from the back of the book about how Rob had the chance to uncover both mysteries. You know what he doesn't do? Uncover both mysteries. (That would be in all caps-angry-internet-yelling but I'm trying to keep things calm here so those that don't want spoilers aren't accidentally pulled in. But please understand, I mean that all caps like.) The whole twenty-year-old mystery? Yeah, it stays a fucking mystery. And after all of those false endings earlier, we really rushed through the present day mystery. It was a supremely unsatisfying. And I'm still pissed.
Spoilers are above. For a murder mystery. So again, if you don't want things spoiled, don't read that.

If anyone else read this, let me know your thoughts. Were you as angry as me? Or did maybe I miss something?

Title quote from page 4

French, Tana. In The Woods. Penguin Books, 2007.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Grief is so selfish

Hey look! I have managed to actually read the assigned chapters AND get a post out in time. Good for me. Thank you Alice for hosting and I will do a better job with my posting.

So when the first section left off, we just learned that George's wife, that he didn't bother to talk to for three years after he ran "ran out for a pack of smokes" and disappeared to Australia, is dead. But what about the new Lady Audley and her seeekrit. Could these story lines be connected??
Probably, but we still don't know yet.

George faints after reading the very coincidental obituary and his buddy Robert takes care of him. I know last week there was some worry that Robert was this book's Dickchard, but I think we're safe there. Unfortunately, I think George might be our Dickchard.

After finding out the news that his wife that, again, he hadn't bothered to talk to in the last few years after just walking out, is dead he goes to find his father-in-law and his son. And then he is UPSET and CONFUSED that his young son whom he hasn't seen in years doesn't instantly love him. Upset enough that he decides to give the kid to his friend Robert (what?) and go back to Australia. I don't know why dumping the kid on his friend is the answer. I don't know why he can't just leave the kid with his grandfather, whom the kid seems to love. Or, you know, why he has to plan Abandonment: The Sequel so quickly after coming back. Probably because he's an ass.

The rest of the section was pretty much a bunch of near misses where George alllllllllllllmost meets Lucy except he doesn't because she doesn't want to suddenly or it's getting late or she's very tired. Meanwhile Robert has seen her for like two seconds and is IN LOVE WITH HIS AUNT and his cousin Alicia (who super wants Rob but we're ignoring that because cousins, even if Braddon is all into it) tells him to not be French or something like that. So that was pretty great.

During one of these near misses Lucy leaves the house and makes sure to lock all of the doors to her room and WHYYY is she keeping things locked there? Alicia takes Rob and George through the house but is all sad they can't go into her chambers because that's where the good pictures are, including a picture of Lucy. BUT DON'T WORRY there's a secret passage way into her rooms. Rob and George go in, they look at the painting aaaannnndd....nothing. Or at least we don't get a moment where George announces that Lucy = Helen. He does however stare at the painting for awhile and then drop a glove. Alicia tells Rob and George that the painter is able to see something in Lucy's character that she's hiding and Rob tells Alicia to stop being so German and I'm not really sure what he means, but it does mean I get to use this gif

Lucy comes back and finds out people were in her room that she specifically locked and she's...really fine with it. That was anticlimactic. Huh. Alright.

There's a big storm and George runs away and is all upset so SOMETHING is going on. Lucy gets angry at Alicia's dog and demonstrates this by shaking "her yellow curls at the angry animal, and defied him maliciously" so. I bet that showed the dog.

Why was George so taken by Lucy's photo?
Why is Lucy locking her bedroom and yet she doesn't care when people wander in?
Is Robert going to get with his aunt or cousin? Why are these the options?
What's going to happen with George's son?
Is Phoebe going to blackmail Lucy yet?
Is Alicia going to stab Lucy in her sleep?
What is Lucy's deal?

Title quote from page 32, location 622

Braddon, Mary Elizabeth. Lady Audley's Secret. Amazon Digital Services. Originally published 1862.

Monday, May 5, 2014

The fact was, if you paid attention, people tried to persuade each other all the time. It was all they did.

I can't remember exactly when I first heard about Max Barry's Lexicon but I want to thank all of the people that read it and recommended it. Good job, you guys because this was excellent.

Lexicon is a thriller that focuses on the power of words. And not in a metaphorical sense. In a "this word will fuck you up big time" sense. But I'm getting a bit ahead of myself.

The book opens in the middle of the action with Wil Park being attacked and has needles shoved in his eyes in some airport bathroom. He doesn't know what's going on other than these two guys are talking about some impending war or battle or SOMETHING and neither you nor Wil know if these are the good guys or bad guys. They keep insisting there's something about Wil that makes him special, although no one will say what and Wil definitely doesn't know.

In between Wil's chapters are Emily's chapters. She's a teenage runaway making her way on the streets scamming people out of their money playing them in three card monte. One day someone recognizes her powers of persuasion and she's recruited for this special school to learn how to be a poet. Not a "I write pretty sonnets" but the "Imma control you entirely just by saying the right combo of sounds at you" type. The type that Wil's captors mention. Dun dun duuuuuuun.

I mentioned a couple weeks ago how much I luuuurve the multiple perspectives. Here you're set up to believe one thing and then suddenly you see the situation from a different point of view and you realize how wrong you were.

This was a great thriller. The action kept going and kept me guessing. WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT? WHO'S ACTUALLY THE VILLAIN HERE?

I did have some trouble getting into this at first. Part of that is because you're just thrown into the action and you have no idea what's going on. Which is cool cos you're a lot like Wil but at the same time, Wil is confused and now you're confused too. Then the perspectives shit. And not just perspectives but time. NOW, I think the issue was mostly on my end. I started reading this right when work was at its craziest last month, so in general I was working with less brain power than normal. But I did find myself re-reading pages and sections a few times to make sure I knew what was going on. At least what I'd been told so far.

Yeah, this was very good. I'm sure I was making ridiculous faces as the secrets and twists were revealed. You should probably read this. And you don't have to just listen to me. Check out Megs' and Sarah's reviews.

The Terrible Desire
Sarah Says Read

Title quote from page 91

Barry, Max. Lexicon. Penguin Books, 2013.

Friday, May 2, 2014

April reading wrap-up

April was a pretty good reading month for me. So hooray! Time is flying, especially when it comes to wedding stuff, cos damn that is coming up fast. I should have a post about that coming up soon. You know, once I write it.

This has been a month of thrillers, which is probably why I sped through so many books. Needing to know what happens next, really helps getting through the pages. So let's see those stats

Number of books read
The Bees by Laline Paul
Sacred by Dennis Lehane
Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
Lexicon by Max Barry
In The Woods by Tana French

Total pages read

Percentage of fiction

Percentage of female authors

Percentage of white authors

Percentage of US authors
40% - what's this? US authors are in the minority? whoa

Percentage of ebooks

Percentage of re-reads

Percentage of review books

Books written by decade
1990s - 20%
2000s - 40%
2010s - 40%

Books by genre
I-have-no-idea-how-to-categorize-The-Bees - 20%
Thriller/Crime - 60%
Graphic novel - 20%

The genre thing is screwing me already. I'm not sure how to categorize The Bees. A bunch of things I saw group it with dystopian which...not really. Cos it's a bee society and everyone seems happy with how things are run. So while this would be a shitty dystopian world for me, a human, this seems to be how bees operate. So yeah, if anyone reads this, or can make a suggestion based on my review, I'm open.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Lady Audley's Secret readalong that I am already failing at

Hey, guess what! It's May. Guess what again! Alice is hosting a May readalong. Guess what again! I forgot about the readalong!

There was a reminder & schedule post that went out on Monday and had I seen it on Monday I would totally have all of the reading done (as Alice has pointed out several times, it's like 10 pages) AND I would have a post written. But that did not happen. Instead I saw the post yesterday afternoon, and had yet to even pick up the book.

I suppose my choice could have been quickly do the reading and get something written. Except that clearly didn't happen, cos look at what I'm writing now. Work decided to be insane the entire month of April so really, the fact that I even have this post is fairly impressive. I mean, not THAT impressive. Cos this is just be saying I didn't get the reading done. But I WANT to play along and our readalongs are always a good time. So I will catch up for next week's post.

Until then, sloth hugs for everyone.