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Caffeine Reviews

"Books and Coffee it doesn't get any better than this..."

Shelter - Susan Palwick This book could have been cut down 200 pages. I know, I'm always the first one to complain if the author doesn't give enough back story to let you know what's going on, but in this case less would have been acceptable. For some reason the author seemed think that we needed to know all about the childhood and relationship woes of both main characters: Meredith and Roberta. Pages and pages full. Even knowing their personal history I still didn't care much for them. Just not very likable personalities.

There are AI's and (ro)bots of all kinds, and a some what sci-fi plot. The story is set 40 years in the future but it still has a dated feel to it. Too much was centered around mental health issues, and I felt like I was being beaten over the head with messages of love and forgiveness. 2 Stars.

The Dinner - Herman Koch, Sam Garrett This little book packs a punch! Creepy, dark and very disturbing. I haven't read a "horror" story this good in awhile.
Mrs. Robinson's Disgrace: The Private Diary of a Victorian Lady - Kate Summerscale Author Kate Summerscale seems to have done quite a bit of research for this book. Lots of famous and not so famous names seem to be coming out of the woodwork. She does give you an inside glimpse of Victorian medical practices and cures of the time (an boy they had some pretty strange ideas back then). Makes me oh so glad that medicine and psychology have come a long ways. The problem is her writing style is so boring and wordy it makes me not care enough to go to GOOGLE and see if any of it could be true.

Mrs. Robinson--- older, lonely and trapped in a crappy marriage. What woman has not experienced the joys of a bad relationship? At times I really could connect with her and during others I just wanted to tell her to get over it and move on with her life. Stop wasting your time on a fantasy that will never happen. But, she had a thing for boy toys. ;)

Then there was that circus of a divorce proceeding. What a joke of a court system. Unfortunately divorce is still a pretty bad experience to go through even in this modern day age and a lot of times women still get the short end of the stick.

Although I hated the dry writing, I did like the way it all ended. 3 Stars


The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making  - Ana Juan, Catherynne M. Valente I agree with the other reviewers its a whole lot like Alice in Wonderland meets the Wizard of Oz. This is my second novel that I've read by Valente, and I think she is an exceptional writer. As much as I like Fairytales, I always find surreal imagery tiring for my poor brain. I wouldn't recommend this book for young children, tweens an adults would probably enjoy it more. It is at times a bit morbid, and on the dark side, but it does have a great ending.
Mudbound - Hillary Jordan Highly recommended for lover's of Southern literature. This author knows how to write!
Wench - Dolen Perkins-Valdez A definitely disturbing and shocking read and yet it felt like the story was lacking any real depth. I believe there could have been so much more explored here, for instance Fran and Lizzie's relationship. The two women lived together for years and shared the same man and yet not much about Fran is revealed. The three other women slaves that Lizzie befriends at the Tawawa house seem more interesting then her, "the lead character" and yet we get no back story on them as well. The ending was dribble as far as I am concerned. Not a bad read, but a not very satisfying one either.
Progeny - Shawn Hopkins I like weird and unusual stories, and this book fits right in that category. Author Shawn Hopkins has rolled some of my favorites together (ancient Egyptian mythology, the biblical nephilim, and the mysterious Bermuda Triangle) and created at first glance a rather interesting tale. It also looks as if he took the time to do some research into these rather enigmatic subjects.

The first half of the book was not too bad. The writing was ok, nothing special, the characters seemed a bit flat and not real memorable. I also thought the dialogue between the characters seemed forced and unnatural. But I liked the subject matter and plodded on.

Toward the ending, is when I started losing patience. I just wanted to get to the conclusion instead of wrapping up, it just got more tedious and drawn out. There was an over kill of too many biblical and mythological story references. It started to read more like a text book on ancient lore and less like a novel. I felt like the author couldn't make up his mind, did he want a novel or was he writing nonfiction?
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore - Robin Sloan What a fun, fun read! It's clever, smart, techy and oh, soo---cool!
This was chicken soup for my soul. :)

The After/Life - Vardan Partamyan My basic issue with this book was, it was to rushed. Events were taking place to quickly and not being well defined. Then there were these huge time gaps with unaccountable time and then suddenly something would happen. I felt, I was being too hurried along through the story.

I liked Nad but I had a hard time connecting with him because sometimes this character seemed so shallow and superficial, and other times his overly emotional state seemed awkward and overly played. The dialogue between the characters themselves didn't seem to flow naturally either it sounded to "rehearsed."

This is a first book of a series I believe, and as the story progresses no doubt we will see the plot line and characters become more deeply developed.
Brain Droppings (MP3 Book) - George Carlin I listened to this on audio, it was only two and a half hours long. Narrated by the author himself George Carlin.

It was entertaining... I think?

I fell asleep through the second half. I do remember before elapsing into a coma state; thinking to myself, "the second CD is much better then the first." I really am sorry Mr. Carlin that I was not able to give you my full attention, but I did hear your voice in entirety through a rather strange dream sequence. Based on the reactions of the characters of said dream, I am going to give you 3 Stars. :)

The Seance - John Harwood I love Victorian settings! Harwood does a superb job of creating a creepy, gothic atmosphere, and I'm also a fan of literary style of writing. I enjoyed the mystery up until the ending was revealed, and then I was a bit disappointed. A good read never the less.
The Red Tent - Anita Diamant Seems to be a highly raved about book, I thought it was dreadful.

I just didn't care for Diamant's almost total rewrite of the original biblical account. I understand this is fiction and she has the right to tell her story the way she likes, but I don't feel she told it in a positive or respectful light. Her writing has left such a bad taste in my mouth that I doubt I will ever consider reading anything further from this author.

Still Missing - Chevy Stevens Not a bad read but I was hoping for more out of it. The protagonist,"Annie" was just a bit to sarcastic for my taste. I understand she's been the victim of a heinous crime but her snarky tone with an almost sense of black humor thrown in seemed to down play what should have been absolute horror. And the ending? Well lets just say I thought it was a little far fetched.
At the Mouth of the River of Bees: Stories - Kij Johnson Every time I read short stories I hardly ever feel satisfied with their endings. :(
The Playdate - Louise Millar Fantastic read!

Reminded me of the movies, "Fatal Attraction" and "The hand that Rocks the Cradle."

Author Louise Millar knows how to tell a GREAT story. She had me hooked till the very end. I loved it! Dark secretes, lies, deception and just when I thought I had it all figured out, she slams me with another outrageous twist I should have seen coming, but didn't. I'm definitely looking forward to reading her next novel.
The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern A most enjoyable fairy tale. :)