For What It's Worth

Friday, February 16, 2018

the friday five




1.

WATCHING

32869

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency – BBC

From Wikipedia: “The show is based around the eccentric Dirk Gently (Samuel Barnett) who claims to be a "holistic detective", investigating obscure cases based on the inter-connectivity of all things. During the first season he befriends Todd Brotzman (Elijah Wood) and Farah Black (Jade Eshete) who help him with his cases. Dirk's past is linked with "Project Blackwing", a secret CIA project to evaluate subjects with strange abilities. Dirk is not only followed by agents of Blackwing trying to recapture him but also by Bart Curlish (Fiona Dourif), another Blackwing subject who considers herself a "holistic assassin" and believes she is destined to kill Dirk.”

I jumped in on S2 without watching the first but I’ve been able to figure out what’s going on pretty easily. Dirk is sort of a manic Doctor Who type (although a bit more bumbling than brilliant) with a fun Scooby gang as his sidekicks.

Diverse cast, funny and quirky.

It’s based on a series by Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
S1 is on Hulu

2.

ICYMI




My friend Roberta from Offbeat YA had a good discussion post on her blog about commenting – what makes you comment or take a pass? Join the discussion bu following the link below!

From Comment-Ça-Va to No-Comment: When Does a Post Make You Talk?

3.

Book Deals

2497499633385229



Both of these books are only $1.99 on Amazon Kindle and Nook right now. They’ve been on my TBR list so I snapped them up!

4.

Music



We went to see AJR in concert this week. They’re an indie pop band and put on an amazing show. So much energy, audience interaction and just plain fun. One of the best shows I’ve seen in a while.
Website

5.

You didn’t think poor Fonzi would escape another holiday without me being a mean mom did you???

IMG_20180214_110501_852

ICYMI

On the blog this week:

The All About Love Tag
Review: A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhethena
Review: Certain Dark things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Thursday, February 15, 2018

review: certain dark things by Silvia moreno-garcia


Certain Dark Things HC Mech.inddWelcome to Mexico City… An Oasis In A Sea Of Vampires…

Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is busy eking out a living when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life.


Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, must feast on the young to survive and Domingo looks especially tasty. Smart, beautiful, and dangerous, Atl needs to escape to South America, far from the rival narco-vampire clan pursuing her. Domingo is smitten.


Her plan doesn’t include developing any real attachment to Domingo. Hell, the only living creature she loves is her trusty Doberman. Little by little, Atl finds herself warming up to the scrappy young man and his effervescent charm.


And then there’s Ana, a cop who suddenly finds herself following a trail of corpses and winds up smack in the middle of vampire gang rivalries.


Vampires, humans, cops, and gangsters collide in the dark streets of Mexico City. Do Atl and Domingo even stand a chance of making it out alive?
Goodreads

Source: I donated to the authors Indiegogo crowdfund campaign for the book and a finished copy was my reward.

Review:

Certain Dark Things has been on my shelf for almost two years and was one of my TBR books that I was determined to read this year. I was expecting an ultra violent, dark take on vampires but it was quite different. This story is more of a slower paced, character focused novel with multiple POV’s. It's steeped in vampire folklore and mythology and set in an alternate history Mexico City. And yeah – there was a lot of throat ripping too! lol

I love me some gore but what Moreno-Garcia does best here is explore the various species and hierarchies of the vampires in a refreshing way, showing their different origins and motivations while they are still connected through one driving force - their hunger.

Atl is a sub species of vampire, a Tlāhuihpochtlin, with Aztec origins, who partners with street kid and garbage collector, Domingo, to outrun a gang of Necros vampires that murdered her family.

Domingo’s complete naivete, faith and loyalty in Atl is in contrast to her dueling desires to protect or kill him. There’s a touch of romance but I wouldn't necessarily even call it romantic. It's sweet and an interesting dynamic but if you need a traditional HEA or think of this as romance novel you might be disappointed.

As Atl’s friend, Bernardino, a Reverent vampire, explains to dissuade the pair – it’s always about the hunger and ignoring that will get one or both of them killed eventually.

The main focus and pov’s are of Atl and Domingo but we also get the pov’s of Ana Aguirre ( a nod to one of my favorite authors - Ann Aguirre!), a cop and single mom trying to rid Mexico City of vampires to make a better life for her daughter, Nico, a vampire and gangster with an obsession to hurt Atl, Rodrigo, a human that works for Nico’s dad and is hired to keep Nico under control and bring Atl in.

That many pov’s doesn’t usually work for me but they blended seamlessly in this case – building on the story and providing another window to this world.

All five have differing levels of morality and there’s a grey line of which some cross. It’s up to the reader to decide if it was for a just cause.

I don’t want to give too much of the plot away because really, it’s a simple story of gangs & turf wars and being on the run but Moreno-Garcia’s fascinating twist on the vampire genre and moral complexity makes this a clever take. And it's a stand alone - so no cliffhangers! Although, I could easily see there being more stories from this world.

I would recommend this book to people who like The Others series by Anne Bishop. It's a totally different subject matter and world but similar to Bishop's slower pace and unraveling of her world/ characters and understated romances - and to fans of Sunshine by Robin McKinley - where the human/vampire relationship is complex and you don't necessarily get the end you want but the one that works for the characters - a touch bittersweet.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

review: a girl like that by tanaz bhathena


A timeless exploration of high-stakes romance, self-discovery, and the lengths we go to love and be loved. 

Sixteen-year-old Zarin Wadia is many things: a bright and vivacious student, an orphan, a risk taker. She’s also the kind of girl that parents warn their kids to stay away from: a troublemaker whose many romances are the subject of endless gossip at school.  You don't want to get involved with a girl like that, they say. So how is it that eighteen-year-old Porus Dumasia has only ever had eyes for her? And how did Zarin and Porus end up dead in a car together, crashed on the side of a highway in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia? When the religious police arrive on the scene, everything everyone thought they knew about Zarin is questioned. And as her story is pieced together, told through multiple perspectives, it becomes clear that she was far more than just a girl like that.


This beautifully written debut novel from Tanaz Bhathena reveals a rich and wonderful new world to readers. It tackles complicated issues of race, identity, class, and religion, and paints a portrait of teenage ambition, angst, and alienation that feels both inventive and universal. ~
Goodreads

Source: ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Review:
A Girl Like That doesn’t pull any punches right from the first line in the prologue:

“ The wails that Masi let out were so heart-wrenching, you would think I was her only daughter lying dead before her instead of the parasite from her sister’s womb as she had once called me.”

I’m not spoiling anything that isn’t in the summary but the book starts with Zarin and her friend Porus dead – hovering above their car wreck, watching their families mourn and the police make judgement on Zarin’s character rather than investigate the crash. As Zarin points out from her ghostly state – few things rile up the authorities in Saudi Arabia than a girl being in the company of a boy that is not her brother or husband.

We start from the time of death and then the story is told in non-chronological order, describing the events that led to the accident.

You can tell right from the start that Zarin is troubled, haunted and uses indifference and harsh words as a shield to protect herself from all those who have and will fail her. This defense mechanism leads people to unfairly judge her based on rumors and double-standards for girls vs boys.

Bhathena is unflinching in her portrayal of, misogyny, rape culture and the bullying/gossip (from both boys & girls) that happens to a “girl like that”.  She also explores the regional religious beliefs and cultures through a sometimes harsh lens but also with nuance and respect.

There are multiple pov’s. Zarin the MC – who is betrayed, broken and feels unworthy of love or kindness, Porus – the boy who loves Zarin and the only one true friend that she can rely on. To a lesser extent, the pov’s of Farhan a boy who dates Zarin and Mishal  - the sister of another boy Zarin had dated.

Each pov intertwines and adds a layer to the story. Although extremely difficult to read at times, it shows what it’s like for boys to be exposed to the idea that girls should be shamed while boys protected and celebrated and how that affects every step of their lives and expectations for their future.

While I do believe that the added pov’s of Farhan and Mishal provide troubling insight as to how Zarin reaches the point of no return - it also slowed the story somewhat for me. Every pov was relevant – but wasn’t always as compelling as Zarin or Porus.

I felt like I had read a version of this story many times before (even in this non-chronological format just a year ago) but the prose is beautiful and Zarin  a fierce and unforgettable character.

Highlight for content warningsdrugging/attempted date rape/sexual assault, one scene of animal cruelty/death, child abuse, bullying