Piranesi

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke is a beautifully written fiction novel for adults.

The House reaches from the sea to the clouds. It has an infinite number of rooms, more hallways than can be counted and statues line the walls, each unique and telling in their own way. In this House, lives a young man the Other has named Piranesi.

Piranesi understands the tides an patterns of the house, the labyrinth he calls home and he believes his purpose is to explore the house. Alone in the house, except for the dead and the Other, Piranesi helps to assist the Other with his research for A Great and Secret Knowledge. But when evidence of another becomes apparent, Piranesi will question the only home he has ever known–the only life he knows of.

God this book was wonderful. It was magical and lyrical and just so different. Yes, I read the first few pages really not knowing what I was getting myself into and then I realized, it didn’t matter. I didn’t need the how and why, I was going to go along for the ride and see where it all ended up. And I am glad I did.

This world Clarke created was beautiful, the writing was almost poetic in areas and the characters developed in such an interesting way. I think one of the things I enjoyed most about this book was that one minute you are enjoying the halls and general scenery of Piranesi’s life and then the plot shows itself and suddenly, your invested in the outcome.

This won’t be a book for everyone, especially for those who find it hard to loose themselves in the prose. But for those who can and for those who stick with it until the middle mark where the plot really comes through, I think you will really enjoy it.

This one gets 5 stars from me!

That’s all for now!

-M-

Baby-Led Feeding: A Natural Way to Raise Happy, Independent Eaters

Baby-Led Feeding: A Natural Way to Raise Happy, Independent Eaters by Jenna Helwig is a non-fiction book about one way to approach introducing solids to your baby.

This easy-to-follow introduction to baby-led feeding (aka baby-led weaning), includes more than 100 ideas and recipes, with bright, photos. The book includes chapters on the “benefits of this approach, when and how to get started, essential safety and nutrition guidelines, frequently asked questions, basic fruit and vegetable prep, more complex finger foods, and family meals.”

I know, this is not one of my normal reads. I don’t usually review a lot of non-fiction, mostly because I don’t usually make it through a whole book unless it is a biography or written more like a story. I tend to browse. But I have a 6month old who has a voracious appetite and a friend recommended me this one as something to consider.

I personally, am too nervous to go the whole BLW method when with comes to introducing solids. The gagging is just too much for me and I am a ball full of nerves every second of the way. So with my first child, we went totally puree and waits quite a while to introduce anything more. But my second pretty much drools whenever anyone eats or drinks around her, so we are doing a hybrid approach this time.

This is a very forgiving book. I love that the writer is totally on the side of the caregiver and promotes a “you do you” approach. She recognizes the struggles with both methods and urges patience and… basically not killing yourself to conform to one approach or another.

The recipes she includes are great. Some seem a bit much for little ones, but then again, I want to make all of these for myself–sorry baby, these are for mama!

Overall, this is a nice middle of the road book, with easy tips and easy to read and understand. This one gets 4.5 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

The Mask Falling

The Mask Falling by Samantha Shannon is the fourth book in The Bone Season series.

Paige and Warden are on the run from Scion London and the Rephaim. Seeking shelter in Paris, Paige agrees to work for an underground organization, working as a spy to bring down Scion. But she did not escape London unscathed and the road to being healed will take all her mental and physical strength.

With Warden, Arcturus, at her side, Paige must heal her body and soul, traverse the catacombs of Paris and risk herself again and again for revolution. But how often can one face death and come out alive… and whole?

Man, I really do love these books, but Samantha Shannon, you are killing me! There is just sooo much time in between each book in the series. Book three came out in 2017. And although, I remember most things, I am sure I am missing those little intricacies that would make the story even better. NOW, don’t get me wrong, I know why these books are taking so long. Just looking at all the research and language injected into this book, I am sure Shannon spends a ton of time on each one. But that still doesn’t make it any easier to be left hanging so very badly for so very long. Sigh.

I sort of loved that this book revolved around Paige and Warden. Their relationship has be up and down and it is great to see them working side-by-side again. I also really like the Parisian underworld. The tunnels, the masks and the new characters all really contribute to the story. But man, that twist. I thought I saw what was coming and it turned out to be very different than what I thought.

I’m in for the long haul with this series but let’s hope this next one is out in under four years!

This one gets 4 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

The Exiles

The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline is a historical fiction novel that follows the life of three women in the nineteenth century.

Evangeline, is a naïve young governess in early nineteenth-century London. When she is seduced by her employers son and then accused of theft and attempted murder, she is fired and sent to Newgate Prison. After discovering she is with child and months of cramped quarters and fetid conditions, she is sentenced to transportation to the continent of Australia for 14 years.

During the journey, Evangeline befriends a young girl named, Hazel, who has a way with herbs and folk medicine. The two strike an unlikely friendship and face trying circumstance while on board the Medea.

Meanwhile, on Van Diemen’s Land, the colonists look down upon the Aboriginal people as savages. When the orphan daughter of one tribes chief, Mathinna, is taken by one of the colonists to be “re-educated,” she is both distraught and fascinated.

As these three tales intertwine, the story of Australia’s colonization is revealed in a new and interesting light.

I swear, about a third of the way through this book I decided which narrators chapters I liked best and literally in the next chapter she dies. Sigh. There were parts of this novel I really liked. Evangeline and Hazel’s paths taken to being thrown on the transportation ship and their subsequent bond. I like Evangeline’s naivety and quick adaptation to the life thrust upon her. I even liked Olive’s brusque but ultimately loyal manner.

Mathinna’s chapters, on the other hand, started out strong and then felt like they were overshadowed by the rest. When she does eventually make an appearance after a while, I’d almost forgotten where we’d left off. And the conclusion of her story, felt a little bit of a throw away, at the least unresolved.

I do feel like I may be short changing this one a little bit. I did learn a lot and it was fascinating to read about the process of transportation and how Van Diemen’s Land eventually becomes a land of “reformed” “criminals.”

This is a book my personal book club picked, so I will be interested to get their take on it. This one gets 3.5 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

The Dark Archive

The Dark Archive by Genevieve Cogman is the 7th book in The Invisible Library series.

Irene is back and in more trouble than ever. After several assassination attempts threaten, not only her life, but her position within the Library, she is determined to find the source of these attempts.

Meanwhile, Irene’s new Fae assistant is proving to be more difficult than she anticipated. When yet another assassination attempt threatens, Irene is forced into bringing her assistant directly into the fray.

In order to stop these attempts, Irene, Val and Kai must search for the truth and uncover the real threat waiting in the shadows. But when an old foe returns from the dead, will our band of protagonists overcome the shock or will they buckle in the face of a seemingly unbeatable force?

The Invisible Library is just a fun series. Each book could passably stand on its own, but it is even better when read in sequential order, following our protagonists through each adventure. Even though each book is its own mystery/run in for Irene, Kai and Val, you can see that there are pieces coming together for a eventual end game. When that end game is coming, who knows but I am enjoying the ride.

I have to say, I have been waiting for “the bomb to drop” and we finally get it in this book. Religious followers of the series, know what I am talking about. I can’t wait to see how Irene reacts to this in future books, especially in light of the epilogue.

I also enjoyed the additional of Irene’s Fae assistant. It seems apropos for Irene to have a rebellious teenage as an assistant, and a Fae one at that. I was not as big of a fan of Kai’s brother and hope he isn’t going to be a big regular to the series.

The only thing that could have made this one better is more Library time. We didn’t get much of the Library and I missed Irene’s interactions with her peers and supervisors.

This one gets 4 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-