Quick Review: Early Riser by Jasper Fforde

This is an interesting piece of speculative fiction in which humans hibernate in winter. Set in Wales, it follows Charlie Worthing as he joins the Winter Consuls, a group of folks who elect to change their hibernation period so that they can be up during winter to look after the people regularly hibernating. In this world, a company has patented a drug that allows people to hibernate without dreams, which has helped people make it through the hibernation period in greater numbers, which has been great for society. The downside is, a small number of people wake up from hibernation with the drug as nightwalkers, essentially brain dead (and often violent) but sometimes with enough function to be trained to do odd jobs. Charlie has to survive his first winter solving a mystery, facing villains, and avoiding fairy tale WinterVolk.

This was really entertaining. I enjoyed the world that it was set in (and, I’m always here for books set in Wales that implies that all of the community is primarily Welsh speaking). I liked the exploration of what it would be like if humans hibernated. That was really interesting. There were a few conceits that did not work for me, but in general this book was an excellent escape from reality.

Late in game 24 in 48 update

So, I wasn’t sure that I would make it to 18 hours. I am pretty pleased that I will definitely make it to 18 hours. I won’t make it to 24, though. That’s okay.

Here’s what I’ve been reading:

1. Seared by Suleikha Snyder. I finished this earlier today.

2. Circe by Madeline Miller. I finished this yesterday. Oh, god. It’s so good.

3. The Kalevala by Elias Lönnrot and Keith Bosley (translator). This epic oral tale has been so enjoyable. I’ve been listening to it first thing in the morning. I think I’m now about halfway done.

4. King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard. I’m two chapters away from finishing this one! Woo!

5. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz. I’m only two chapters into this but I’m very curious to see where it goes.

There’s a chapter of a stats book I’m hoping to also polish off this weekend. I’m pretty happy with this weekend! And, even happier with the new books I’ve added to my tbr from recs from twitter, litsy, and instagram.

Review: Dashing Through the Snow by Debbie Macomber

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Here is the description from amazon:

Ashley Davison, a graduate student in California, desperately wants to spend the holidays with her family in Seattle. Dashiell Sutherland, a former army intelligence officer, has a job interview in Seattle and must arrive by December 23. Though frantic to book a last-minute flight out of San Francisco, both are out of luck: Every flight is full, and there’s only one rental car available. Ashley and Dash reluctantly decide to share the car, but neither anticipates the wild ride ahead.

At first they drive in silence, but forced into close quarters Ashley and Dash can’t help but open up. Not only do they find they have a lot in common, but there’s even a spark of romance in the air. Their feelings catch them off guard—never before has either been so excited about a first meeting. But the two are in for more twists and turns along the way as they rescue a lost puppy, run into petty thieves, and even get caught up in a case of mistaken identity. Though Ashley and Dash may never reach Seattle in time for Christmas, the season is still full of surprises—and their greatest wishes may yet come true.

 

This book was terrible. So terrible I almost didn’t review it. The whole premise of the plot is that Ashley Davison has the same name as someone on the FBI’s most wanted list and the no-fly list and that’s a huge roadblock to her getting home for Christmas.  This premise seems in poor taste, at the very least, because it does happen and hurts people, most often people who are racial and/or religious minorities in this country. I decided, for the sake of a quick Christmas read that I’d read it anyway.

I should have gone with my first instincts.

Ashley and Dash have sparks? I guess? But, It seems more like he’s the grown up looking after a well-meaning and slightly-irresponsible younger person. (And, for possibly obvious reasons, I really resent any characterization of a graduate student that way.) The FBI agents who follow them are ham-fisted and stubborn-to-a-fault. It is not a very flattering caricature. They also don’t seem good at their jobs? I feel like there were other clues that could have gotten them to Dash and Ashley faster, and while this would have made for a less exciting novel it also would have made for a shorter one and I would have been cool with that?

Oh, and they adopt a puppy at some point on their rental car road trip. This seems slightly irresponsible but big-hearted. Guess who’s idea it is.

The puppy is great. Not great enough that you should read it for the dog, though.

Ugh. this book. It was just terrible. I was hoping for something light and fun with a cute happily ever after and that’s not what this was. The nicest things I can say about this are that there was a dog and that it was a quick read.

 

Dracula Chapter 9

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So, this is totally embarrassing. I recorded this more than a week ago and I’m just now getting to posting it. Sigh. Apologies.

 

In today’s installment, a flurry of activity happens as documented in various diary entries, letters, and telegrams! It is so exciting!

 

Chapter 9 can be found here.

You can get caught up here.

 

The music for the recording is Oppressive Gloom by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com). (Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/). And, the text is by Bram Stoker.

 

Dracula, Chapter 8

In which we discover what has happened to Jonathan Harker

 

In today’s installment, we find out what happened to Jonathan Harker. We also hear more about Dr. Seward’s most interesting patient and Lucy starts keeping her own diary!

 

 

 

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The music for the recording is Oppressive Gloom by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com). (Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/). And, the text is by Bram Stoker.

 

Previous chapters can be found here.

 

 

Dracula Chapter 7

This just in! The news from Whitby!

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The music for the recording is Oppressive Gloom by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com). (Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)

Previous chapters can be found here.

Dracula Chapter 6

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Cemetery in Whitby, England. Photo by Chris ( Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license)

In today’s installment, we hear more from Mina Murray and Dr. Seward! The chapter ends with some creepy foreshadowing! What will happen next?

The music for the recording is Oppressive Gloom by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com). (Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)

Hear from Mina and Dr. Seward here.

Previous chapters can be found here.