October 2015 books

The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1)The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I could change this to five stars on a second reading. Maybe. It definitely gets points above and beyond the enjoyment/quality factor for daring to be different - to be set in a time and place that is unfamiliar to most of its readers, but also not willing to dumb everything down so we view everything comfortably from the safety of our own culture. I don't want to be one of those people who says that because something is different, it's good, but The Wrath and the Dawn is different...and it's good.

Plus, The Thousand and One Nights!

Plus, Arabia!

Plus, spellbinding stories ending at dawn (at least at first...I was hoping for a few more)!

Plus, beautiful descriptions of clothing that were somehow not tiresome at all and instead added to the richness of the story! That hasn't happened since Legend.

Plus, possibly my favorite cover of the year!

I loved the dialogue in this book - everything was enigma and misdirection and hidden barbs and angst. People don't really talk like this. BUT THEY SHOULD.

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TsarinaTsarina by J. Nelle Patrick
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Beautiful cover and promising setting - revolutionary Russia - but ultimately not that good. I wanted a little more Romanov and a little less rando from the palace. I wasn't a fan of the magic Faberge egg, either.

However, for teenagers, this book could be a good entry point into that period of history.

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Behind the Shattered GlassBehind the Shattered Glass by Tasha Alexander
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars. Now let us never use the world "trifle" again.

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Still Star-CrossedStill Star-Crossed by Melinda Taub
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 stars. Someone get this book a better title and a new cover, STAT, because it is a gem! Sure, the premise reeks of a sophomore English class writing prompt ("Imagine you are in Verona after the events of Romeo + Juliet. What solution would you propose to help end the conflict between the Montagues and the Capulets?"), but I LOVED what the author did with it! The story reads like an homage to R+J as well as Shakespeare's other works, but not just by imitation (the lamest sort of flattery). There are asides here and there and characters borrowed from other plays who pop up in unexpected places - it all seems like a smart inside joke instead of constant in-your-face mugging (like Death Comes to Pemberley was always doing).

My Baz Luhrmann R+J-loving heart adores this book. I can't be sure the author always knew what she was doing, having the dialogue be in Shakespeare-adjacent language while the narrative text was more neutral. But I'm not sure Baz always knew what he was doing, either, and that turned out fine.

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Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for JusticeRed Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice by Bill Browder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wasn't always comfortable with the insane amounts of money being made by people off the backs of developing economies in this book, but it was good to learn more about how the financial world works. The second half of the book was better than the first - I felt that Browder was at last really fighting for justice instead of financial gain.

And Sergei Magnitsky should be sainted someday.

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Enna Burning (The Books of Bayern #2)Enna Burning by Shannon Hale
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Third reading October 2015.

Still a lovely book, but more simplistic upon a third reading than it was nine years ago. However, this time around I started to entertain the idea that this book is actually some kind of rich allegory for sin, forgiveness, and redemption. I haven't fully developed my theory yet and I probably never will, but it added an interesting layer to the story.

FYI, I was re-reading this because I'm checking to see if I want my 10-year-old daughter to read it. I think it's fine for her.

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No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance StateNo Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State by Glenn Greenwald
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The truly shocking revelation in this book is how atrocious the NSA's PowerPoint skills are. The bullet points, the awful graphics, the lack of parallel structures within a slide, THE SHEER AMOUNT OF TEXT - it boggles the mind.

Then, of course, there is the information these slides (and other documents reproduced in this book) contain, and their impact on our lives as citizens of a supposedly free country. This book was the perfect refresher course on all things Edward Snowden for me, since when the story went down the first time, I was having a baby and not keeping up with the news. For someone who followed the story closely in the summer/fall of 2013, this book would probably not be very interesting.

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Other Bridget 2015

Kaarina Syysmaraton 10K

Kaarina Syysmaraton 10K