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Month in review

Reviews:
An Acquaintance with Darkness by Ann Rinaldi
Animal Kisses by Barney Saltzberg
The Bunnies' Counting Book by Elizabeth B. Rogers
California Girl by T. Jefferson Parker
Daddy and Me by Neil Ricklen
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems
Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late by Mo Willems
Encyclopedia Brown Finds the Clues by Donald Sobol
Encyclopedia Brown Keeps the Peace by Donald Sobol
Encyclopedia Brown Strikes Again by Donald Sobol
The Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey
The Little Green Caterpillar by Yvonne Hooker
Little Lost Puppy by Margaret Glover Otto
Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare
Mouse Tales by Arnold Lobel
My Little Opposites Book by Bob Staake
Number 9 by Wallace Wadsworth
On the Night of the Seventh Moon by Victoria Holt
Picture Me Colors by Deborah D'Andrea and Kaycee Hoffman
Picture Me Numbers by Deborah D'Andrea and Kaycee Hoffman
The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog by Mo Willems
Pokémon 2000 by Tracey West
Russell and the Lost Treasure by Rob Scotton
Russell the Sheep by Rob Scotton
Slide 'N' Seek Shapes by Chuck Murphy
The Spider King by Lawrence Schoonover
The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin
The Straw Men by Michael Marshall
The Tokaido Road by Lucia St Clair Robson
The Top of the World by Ethel M. Dell
Watch Me Grow Kitten by DK Books

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Comments for An Acquaintance with Darkness

Tokaido RoadThe Tokaido Road: 12/19/06

The Tokaido Road was the main connecting highway between Japan's two capitals: Tokyo and Kyoto. The novel of the same name takes place on that same highway as "Cat" flees after the poisoning of one of her clients and goes in search of Oishi, her only hope in avenging the death of her father and clearing her own name. Along the way she must fight off agents of Lord Kira but she will find help in the most unlikely of places.

If that's not enough, she's also a noblewoman in disguise and trained in various arts and fighting techniques. It sounds exciting but it is too over-written. It reads like fan fiction of any of a number of anime series except that so much detail is thrown in that even the fight scenes take a long time to read and therefore seem to go in slow motion. Robson clearly did enough research to know the Japanese terms for all the things she's describing but she writes her book assuming an audience ignorant of Japanese culture and so she wastes extra words on describing simple things rather than just naming them.

There is also the problem of what exactly Cat knows and what she doesn't. She knows how to fight like a samurai and how to disguise herself like a dirt poor man but she doesn't have any concept of money or other basic survival techniques. She seems to randomly forget what things are or how the world works to give the author a vehicle for further info dumping in the form of flowery descriptions or melodramatic dialogue.

Here's my BookCrossing review:

I have to stop reading historical fiction, especially those based around actual people rather than just set in a certain time period; they just bug me. I got so tired of wading through all the lengthy descriptions of the different Japanese costumes. Good lord, just call them by what they are actually called, put a dictionary in the back of the book and move on. Please no more lengthy descriptions of what every single Japanese meal tastes like! Please no more haiku (even if it is written by a Master)! Please no more random use of Japanese words when 90% of what people are saying is in English; or at least be consistent . If every other major character's name is kept in Japanese (albeit transliterated), then leave the main character's in transliterated Japanese. Her name isn't Cat; it's Neko.

My final thoughts on this book; save yourself the trouble of slogging through every detail and watch some anime instead (subbed, not dubbed). You'll learn just as much and probably be better entertained.

Judy and SeanGratitude #19: In Laws

I am grateful for Ian's parents. They are two of the nicest people I know. It saddens me to hear some of the horror stories of in laws who meddle and have nothing good to say of their child's spouse. Judy and Charlie are fun to chat with, always there when we need them (and often times before we know we need them). They're wonderful grandparents. Sean loves to help Charlie clean the pool with the robot. Whenever I have a bad day, Judy is always there to listen to me rant. I know she's also looking forward to doing a doll house with Harriet in a few years.

We will be spending Christmas Eve with them this year and New Year's as we always do. New Year's and Thanksgiving are their two holidays. Both involve good cooking and relaxing times. These holidays provide a chance for a well needed rest to recharge for the start of a new year.

 

Steps: 15000


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