A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine

A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine

I thoroughly enjoyed A Memory Called Empire. It was engrossing and smart. It's science fiction centered around political intrigue and a murder mystery. One of the themes of the book is colonialism. Teixcalaan is a galaxies-spanning empire with a capital that is a planet-spanning City. In their language, the word for the world and the planet and the city is the same. Peoples who are not part of the empire are "barbarians" and while in the City are not granted the freedoms and technology of the Teixcalaani. It is an old culture rooted traditions and deeply connected to its poetry. I found the importance of poetry to the culture fascinating and is part of what I loved. Poetry as history, political rhetoric, battle cry, prayer for peace, everything poetry can be but that we don't give the power it deserves. Teixcalaan's size and influence dwarfs the small, but still independent Lsel station. Mahit Dzmare is the new ambassador from Lsel to Teixcalaan,...
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A Rumpole Christmas by John Mortimer

A Rumpole Christmas by John Mortimer

I have some books that come out every year with the Christmas decorations. Some I've read multiple times, like A Christmas Carol, and some I haven't gotten around to yet. This year I finally picked up A Rumpole Christmas from the stack and thoroughly enjoyed the stories. I'm familiar with Rumpole of the Bailey and "She Who Must Be Obeyed." I feel like I must have seen some episodes back when it was on PBS Mystery! which we used to watch almost weekly. Barrister Horace Rumpole, defender of the criminal class, loves his work. Fortunately, work finds him even during the Christmas holidays, whether it be spending Christmas at a health farm when a murder occurs, meeting former clients under interesting circumstances, or being booked into the same hotel as a judge. Rumpole character is funny, wry, and insightful, and some of his comments about terrorists and the Church could have been made now. He honestly enjoys defending his...
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Hibernate with Me by Benjamin Scheuer

Hibernate with Me by Benjamin Scheuer

Hibernate with Me is a wonderful picture book. The story features a little bear and his mom/dad. No matter how rough life can gets or how shy the little bear feels, little bear always has a safe, warm home to go to. The words have a gentle rhyming pattern, and the illustrations accompany it perfectly. They are detailed, colorful and fit the moods, seasons of the story. The story was originally a song. The melody is in the back of the book. The lullaby quality of the story makes it a perfect book for bedtime. I think I'm going to give my copy to either my brother or my mom. A couple of my brother's kids are still young enough for picture books and I really like this one. Hibernate with Me is a gentle reminder that no matter how sad, small, or scared you feel, you are always worthy of love, and that brighter days are always ahead. I have one copy to...
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The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

I knew I'd love The Three Musketeers. The Count of Monte Cristo by Dumas is one of my favorite all-time books and this is even more mentioned/read/known. So, I was happy when the Classics Club Spin hit #1 and my challenge was then to read The Three Musketeers by the end of January. Dumas takes the historical events of France, 1625-27, and plays with them to bring us one of the best adventure stories ever. The beautiful Anne of Austria is Queen of France, but she is lukewarm, at best, toward her husband, XIII. Cardinal Richelieu, the true ruler of the country, has made advances towards her, but been rebuffed; he's eaten up by jealousy and spite, especially since he knows through his network of informers that Anne's heart in fact belongs to the handsome Lord Buckingham. These fictionalized historical figures are at the center of the story, it's their loves, desires, conquests and favors that everyone else's life revolves...
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Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima

Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima

Not Quite Narwhal is a sweet little story. Kelp is born at the bottom of the sea with the narwhals. Now, we know he's a unicorn with a kind of bubble around his head, but he thinks he's a narwal. All the narwhals love and adore him, even if he's not like them. Then one day he sees a unicorn and realizes that he's a unicorn, too. Only he still has bubble around his head on land too. Okay, so the bubble probably bothered me more than it would a kid. All the unicorns accept him and the narwhals greet his announcement that he's a unicorn with well, of course he is, they knew it all along. And they never gave him the chance to meet any other unicorns? The story's about accepting each other, differences and all, and about being yourself. The illustrations are whimsical, soft and lovely. It just didn't make a whole lot of sense to me, but I'm...
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‘Twas the Nightcap Before Christmas by Katie Blackburn

‘Twas the Nightcap Before Christmas by Katie Blackburn

"'Twas the nightcap before Christmas That caused mischief and mayhem and Mom wearing stockings when she should have been filling them..." Cute, little alcohol-soaked adult take on 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. Mom and dad drink way too much and have a lot of fun on Christmas eve, but get very little actually done. Happily Santa shows up after they're out for the night and saves the day. Definitely for adults, but fun. It would be a nice Christmas gift for parents with a sense of humor. I received it in a Secret Santa gift and had to read it almost immediately. The bright colors, the fact that it's a take on a familiar poem, make it pretty irresistible....
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