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Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

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Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Major Pettigrew is a retired military man, a creature of habit and principle who lives in the small English village of Edgecombe St. Mary. He's opinionated with a dry sense of humor, and manages to be a lovable old curmudgeon and an unlikely hero. After the death of his brother, he finds himself in some uncertain territory with family, and befriends Mrs. Jasmina Ali (widowed), a Pakistani shopkeeper in the village. Their friendship sparks some talk and tension from both of their families, as well as some wonderful discussions about life and literature.

I enjoyed dropping into the life of a small English village for a time, and appreciated the care Simonson took in writing a group of people who are in equal turns caring and bothersome, getting into each other's business and at the same time showing up for each other when needed. It is English comedy done well, playing with manners and elegance in a sort…

Defy or Defend

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Defy or Defend by Gail Carriger
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I always love Gail Carriger's novellas because I know I can rely on them for a good romp with some favorite characters, usually an appearance by Lord Akeldama (because he can't abide being out of 'the loop'), some laughs and hijinks, all in a single sitting. (Provided I have enough tea and nibbles to sit for a few hours without getting up).

In this Delightfully Deadly novella, we get Dimity's story. Readers of the Finishing School series will remember Dimity, Sophronia et al. The Delightfully Deadly books are basically a glimpse into their lives and careers after they leave school and go out into the world. In this one, Dimity is an intelligencer who has been sent on assignment with Cris to investigate a vampire hive that's gone a bit . . . off.

This book felt the just a bit like Cold Comfort Farm, in that an outsider comes in and refuses to be daunted by how dismal and dysfunctional everything is, and y…

Mort

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Mort by Terry Pratchett My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Continuing my trek through the Discworld (I'm reading them chronologically because making any other kind of decision about where to begin proved to be too overwhelming), and so I have arrived at Mort. The first of the books about Death, who is very quickly becoming one of my most favorite Discworld characters.

In this book, Death takes an apprentice named Mort; his first apprentice that we know of. Death also has a daughter named Ysabell and a very aged housekeeper/cook named Albert. These 4 comprise our main cast of characters. As Mort grows in his apprenticeship, Death decides to turn over all reaping responsibilities to him for a short time and go on a holiday. Things go sideways, as is to be somewhat expected when you put a teenage boy in charge of ushering souls to the afterlife.

As is usual when I review installments in series, I'm just going to touch on some things I especially enjoyed (light spoiler warning, but no big …

Such a Fun Age

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Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is really well done. It deals with tough issues of racial inequality, ignorance of that inequality, and how that has big effects on individual lives, while being a great fictional read. The characters are excellent, some are terribly flawed, but still manage to be relatable enough that you don't forget they're human. They're complex, the way that real people are.

It reminds us that good people can do bad things, insensitive things, hurtful things while thinking they're doing the right thing. It reminds us that interpersional situations are multi-faceted, intersectional and complicated.

Emira and Bri definitely take the spotlight. They are both fantastic, Bri is a 3 year old who says exactly the thing that is on her mind. Emira is her 25-year-old baby-sitter who gives her room to interact with the world, pays attention to her thoughts and questions and loves her for exactly who she is. Their relationship i…

Equal Rites

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Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Continuing my way through Discworld, and starting the Witches sequence in which: I get to meet Granny Weatherwax, Esk and learn a bit more about wizards, witches, and The Librarian.

I really liked Granny Weatherwax. She actually reminded me a lot of Marilla Cuthbert in her matter-of-factness about how the world works, as well as her acceptance of how things just go outside of those rules sometimes. As a result, I mostly pictured Granny Weatherwax as Geraldine James, the actress who plays Marilla in Netflix's 'Anne with an E.' Anyways, I loved how loyal she is to Esk and where that takes her, and that she seems to be low key sitting on a some seriously powerful witch-y abilities that she can pull out when she wants to.

I also enjoyed getting a little more back story on The Librarian when Esk spends some time with him at the Unseen University, and am hoping for more on both Esk and The Librarian in future books.

I kno…

Meat Cute: The Hedgehog Incident

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Meat Cute: The Hedgehog Incident by Gail Carriger
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

THIS STORY IS SO MUCH FUN! Not that I should be surprised, just about everything this author-beast writes is great.

This book came at the perfect time, I had just finished two heavier books that underwhelmed me during the first part of the month, and then -bam!- this little book is getting delivered to my kindle app promising to bring some cheer to my month's reading round up.

We FINALLY learn about the infamous hedgehog incident. It's adorable, Connal in particular is so endearing in his big Scottish way.

Alexia is of course un-phased by anything, and it's why we love her. It's been a while since I read Soulless et. al, and I enjoyed seeing Alexia before her elevated status being just as Alexia as ever.

*tiny spoiler warning*

One thing I did not expect were cameos from Soap & Sophronia (though they are unnamed, it's 100% them). And that seriously made me happy. After the Finishing Sc…

The Binding

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The Binding by Bridget Collins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This may be an unpopular review, but this book was pretty 'meh' for me. It had so much potential, the premise of the book binding and what goes into that and how it makes books valuable/dangerous is really interesting and really could have gone somewhere. . . instead it went a bit trope-y with sexual abuse. Very problematic sexual abuse like pedophilia, denying victims' agency and ick. The description of the book asks what you would do if you could erase grief, so I expected us to get into a discussion about grief and loss. Sexual trauma does not equal grief. I get that the author was trying to depict certain practices around the corruption of the book binding power as monstrous, I just wish that it wasn't at the expense of the majority of our few female characters. Which also means this book DEFINITELY does not pass the Bechdel test either.

Ok, so now I got what I didn't like out of my system, here's what…