July 28, 2020

Tell Me Something Tuesday: What Things Make a Good Book for You?

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly discussion post on Rainy Day Ramblings, where the blog's owner Heidi discusses a wide range of topics from books to blogging. Weigh in and join the conversation by adding your thoughts in the comments. If you want to do your own post, grab the question and answer it on your blog.
Here is what is on deck this week:

WHAT THINGS MAKE A GOOD BOOK FOR YOU?

In short:

  • characters I can care for (they don't have to be like me, just to elicit a strong emotional response)
  • articulate writing (better if it doesn't favour very short/choppy sentences, though sometimes they can be effective)
  • when the book knows what it's doing (like, sci-fantasy is OK, sci-fi that employs supernatural devices without context...not so much)

July 21, 2020

Matthew Green: "Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend"

Title: Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend  [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: None (though the author used to have plans for a sequel and maybe still has)
Author: Matthew Green (pen name for UK and Australia, but elsewhere he publishes under his real name Matthew Dicks) [SiteMatthew Green on Goodreads | Matthew Dicks on Goodreads]
Genres: Contemporary with a Twist
Year: 2012
Age: 14+ (but it's more geared towards adults)
Stars: 4.5/5
Pros: Candid, insightful, magical and heartwarming.
Cons: The simple writing style (tailored on the narrator) may not be everybody's cup of tea.
WARNING! An instance of fat-shaming and food-belittling (even if imaginary friends don't eat, it doesn't sit right). Some violence.
Will appeal to: Those who never completely outgrew their imaginary friend. Those who could still use one.

Blurb: Budo is been alive for more than five years, which is positively ancient in the world of imaginary friends. But Budo feels his age, and thinks constantly of the day when eight-year-old Max Delaney will stop believing in him. When that happens, Budo will disappear.
Max is different from other children. Some people say that he has Asperger's Syndrome, but most just say he's "on the spectrum." None of this matters to Budo, who loves Max and is charged with protecting him. But he can't protect Max from Mrs. Patterson, the woman who works with Max in the Learning Center and who believes that she alone is qualified to care for this young boy. When Mrs. Patterson does the unthinkable and kidnaps Max, it is up to Budo and a team of imaginary friends to save him - and Budo must ultimately decide which is more important: Max's happiness or Budo's very existence. (Amazon excerpt)

Review: A deceptively simple novel that tackles autism from a different perspective, along with themes such as courage, sacrifice, friendship, family and the power of imagination.

BEING HUMAN

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend is, to the best of my knowledge, a unique book in more than a way. Not only the imaginary friend himself narrates the story (and while I read an anthology based on the same concept, I've never come across another novel that does it so far), but his human maker - for lack of a better word - is a little boy on the autistic spectrum (though his condition is never explicitly named in the book). Budo is a fascinating character, who allegedly has been able to evolve through the years and his observation of people, all while maintaining a basic naΓ―vetΓ© - which doesn't prevent him to have some spot-on insights about the world as he knows it, and the adults in it. He also muses about his own existence and is well aware that, as soon as Max stops needing him, he will disappear. This causes an internal conflict for a while (though Budo loves Max dearly and tries to protect him at all costs) that some reviewers found petty, but to me, only adds to Budo's "humanity" and paves the way for his growth. [...]

July 14, 2020

Tell Me Something Tuesday: Does Your Reviewing Style Change Depending on the Book?

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly discussion post on Rainy Day Ramblings, where the blog's owner Heidi discusses a wide range of topics from books to blogging. Weigh in and join the conversation by adding your thoughts in the comments. If you want to do your own post, grab the question and answer it on your blog.
Here is what is on deck this week:

DOES YOUR REVIEWING STYLE CHANGE DEPENDING ON THE BOOK?

I was the one who came up with this question, and I'm really curious about your answers! Does the genre you're reading, or the fact that you enjoyed a book immensely/found it average/hated it, or even your mood, influence your reviewing style?
For me, it never really changes. Sometimes I wonder if I'm reliable...or simply boring LOL. I mean, the length of my reviews may vary, but that's not a sign of me enjoying the book more (long review) or less (short one). There are books you can't very well say too many things about, because you'd spoil them big time. As for the style...I try to go in deep, rarely fangirl (or, I fangirl responsibly. Is that even a thing? πŸ˜‚), am never snarky (though I came close to it once). As I said, that may be because I'm reliable...or because I'm boring...or (wishful thinking) because...

Feel free to ignore the statement above LOL.

July 11, 2020

Job Application Update - A.K.A. Thanks for Nothing, Buddy

Hello sweeties,

remember the second part-time job I applied for (in-bound customer support operator at the local hospital)? Well, nothing came out of it. I mean, the job, as of now, doesn't exist πŸ‘€.


Let me explain. In Italy, you can book a private medical examination - in order to skip the long queues, or to get an appointment with a specific doctor - at the very public hospitals these doctors work for. That was the job I applied for: one where you receive the customers' calls and give them the desired appointments. At present, this kind of job is handled by a set of operators in a nearby hospital (different town, same corporation), but the idea was to build another contact center here in order to handle the appointments better. Except the local hospital ultimately backed out (I guess for monetary issues - it's always about the money). So, there will be no such position open here for the foreseeable future.

Now, I don't know if I could have balanced two jobs (mainly because of the time schedule), or if I would have favorably impressed the recruiters or anything, but...for the very first time in my life, I wasn't feeling scared or inadequate. I was beginning to think I could do this. Not to mention, it's so rare to find a job advertisement for something that doesn't involve the kind of education I didn't choose to get (like law or business and economics). So I'm back to square one now...and a bit disheartened, to tell you the truth πŸ˜«.

OK, so that's it for now - but please don't stop sending good vibes my way. Maybe they'll put a new and improved job offer on my path! or maybe the local hospital will backtrack again and ultimately decide to open that position, in which case...I'm ready to fight for it πŸ’ͺ.

July 09, 2020

Seanan McGuire: "In an Absent Dream"

Title: In an Absent Dream [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series:  Wayward Children (4th of 10? books)
Author: Seanan McGuire [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Supernatural (technically it would be Portal Fantasy, but since I don't have a Fantasy Room on the blog, I decided to shelf this one as Supernatural - that's the closest I could get)
Year: 2019
Age: 14+
Stars: 4/5
Pros: An imaginative look-in-reverse at one of the most common fantasy tropes. Fresh twist on one of the series' premises. Compelling protagonist.
Cons: More philosophical (and thus slightly less accessible) than the other books in the series.
Will appeal to: Everyone who's ever felt out of place, but doesn't necessary dream of a happier world than the one they live in...

Blurb: This fourth entry and prequel tells the story of Lundy, a very serious young girl who would rather study and dream than become a respectable housewife and live up to the expectations of the world around her. When she finds a doorway to a world founded on logic and reason, she thinks she's found her paradise. Alas, everything costs at the goblin market, and when her time there is drawing to a close, she makes the kind of bargain that never plays out well. (Amazon excerpt)

Review: The most original book in the series so far tells us the origin story of Lundy, Eleanor West's second-in-command (so to speak) at her Home for Wayward Children. Alas, we already know what comes after - but it doesn't mean that we're exempted from heartbreak.

CHOICE OF WORLDS

If you're familiar with this series - or have at least read Book 1 - you will know that most of the doors the Wayward Children stumble upon can only be crossed once, because if you break the rules of the realms they led you to, you have to go back to the regular world and aren't allowed to return. Under special circumstances, some of the visitors do get a second chance. But this is the first time we're introduced to a door that will let you come and go until you're eighteen, at which point you'll have to make up your mind or the door will choose for you. Also, this is the first time we follow one of the Wayward Children for a long span of time - from 8 to 18 years old - and in and out of two worlds. This allows McGuire to flesh up her main character a bit more (despite the novella format's limitations) and to give us a multifaceted perspective of her that the previous ones lacked. It also makes for a compelling narrative, that - despite us already knowing the outcome, since we met Lundy in the first installment - keeps us on our toes the whole time. It's a fresh spin on the series' own mythology that breaths new life into an already fascinating concept and prevents it from becoming formulaic. [...]

July 05, 2020

Tooting Your Trumpet #13 (The Black Lives Matter Edition)


Some people toot their own trumpet. I mean to toot yours. On the first Sunday of every month, I'm sharing your posts, your sites, anything interesting I stumble upon during my internet vagrancies. June on Twitter was all about the #BlackLivesMatter movement, for a number of reasons - from police brutality to inequality in publishing - so I thought I'd collect four of my favourite and/or the most relevant posts that sprung up because of it. (I mean, those that I know of - feel free to add more in the comments!). This month on TYT...
  • SUPPORT BLACK OWNED BOOKSTORES (a list on Jen's blog Jen Ryland's Reviews)
  • 5 BLACK LITERARY PROFESSIONALS TO SUPPORT RIGHT NOW (a list by The Parliament House)
  • BLACK LIVES MATTER (a resource post on Nicole's blog Feed Your Fiction Addiction)
  • THE BOOK COMMUNITY’S BIAS (a think-piece on Amber's blog Du Livre)
Please note: all the graphics featured in these posts are property of the blog/site owners, and are only used in association with their blog/site links.