Tag Archive: male-heavy



American GodsAmerican Gods by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What if you mix a radio show, comparative religion, with a road trip? This is it!

Look, I see a lot of differing reviews on this book. I think if you are able to listen to the Audible version you would like it better. The many actors bring this far-fetched story alive. The narrators: Ron McLarty, Daniel Oreskes, and full cast (whatever that means) make you see gods, goddesses and dead people and other characters. They help you feel the cold, the pain, smell rot or smoke.

I don’t know if I would have liked the book had I just read it without the Audible narration. I think it might have been more meandering and possibly boring. What kept me going was wanting to see what would happen to the main character. And having a bit of interest in other religions and cultures I wanted to see how Neil Gaiman would portray them and the war between them as they were fading into the obscurity of disbelief.

This wasn’t my favorite book. It is very male-heavy. Goddesses and women were given little time or depth. BUT I doubt I will forget it and may want to read it again in a few years and see how it affects me then. I highly recommend using the audio version to immerse in this world, which may be America, but a different dimension than where most live.

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The Witch's Vacuum CleanerThe Witch’s Vacuum Cleaner by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you are looking for a light, funny read, this is your book. It was like watching cartoons or Monty Python. Very bad for a bedtime book for me. I found it hard to stop reading, well, actually, listening to this one. 3:00 came too quickly. So, sorry if this sounds more disjointed than my usual reviews.

Oh, I listened to the Audible using the whispersynch. Julian Rhind-Tutt (Narrator) is facinating! His voice changes with every character. He tells the story with so much gusto that sometimes I think I missed story for enthusiastic energy. Even still, at the end of each story I had that sigh of fulfillment.

The stories themselves are sadly, mostly, male. In fact, the very first one ended with the main character marrying the witch with us hardly knowing a thing about the witch except that she was a witch. I wanted more about her and that parrot. Please forget that you just read the last two sentences if they seem spoilers. After all, the title of the book is The Witch’s Vacuum. Seems like there should be a lot more witch and vacuums than men in the form of police or gnomes. But hey, Mr. Pratchett wrote this when he was a teen and the adage says ‘write what you know’. Sadly, Mr. Pratchett knew nothing about the other half of society then. Later he did write some fun books that did have fems but mostly they are witches. Is it any wonder how the world is now if this is all anyone has read most of their lives?

Still, I have loved Terry Pratchett’s writing, so creative! Magick exists, but sadly without fems. Even colors we have never heard of exists. Don’t get me started! YET, I love his writing. Fun, fun stories!

So take it with a grain of salt that in male authors’ worlds, fems hardly exist. We will try to change that with our own writings and making sure they see us as the other humans. After all the whole language system leaves us behind. Even human. We could be called hu.

But it is for this teeny-tiny problem that I am giving the book four stars instead of five. If you can get the audio version you are in for the best story telling around–save for girls, fe=iron.

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Cyrus LongBones and the Curse of the Sea ZombieCyrus LongBones and the Curse of the Sea Zombie by Jeremy Mathiesen

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

You wnt boys to read? Keep the action going. Want girls to read it? I wouldn’t. The action is fine. But here’s the female line-up:
An abusive step mother
A zombie water witch
a girl-sister(?) who needed rescuing

It seems you want to grow heroes but don’t want them to be female. And don’t care to teach inclusiveness in any way.

Sorry. All that action was boring to me and I wouldn’t recommennd it to boys or girls for what it doesn’t teach.

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19841984 by George Orwell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is my second reading of this book. It was required reading in high school (about 1967). I remember it being very scary and prayed it would never happen. As the actual year of 1984 flew by many of us began to relax. Maybe the science fictional prophecy was far from ever happening.

Many people have recommended this book again what with rumors of Newspeak/Fake News. The book shows that anyone can be convinced of anything given the right set of circumstances. I believe that to be true, which is why I don’t believe that torture would ever bring out the truth. Many are in jails because the good cop/bad cop or other tricks of coercion have brought the suspect to admit to something they never did do. Much of the book shows how this can happen.

Regardless of which side of the political system you may stand, this set of possibilities should shout at you. You should feel free to tell your truth without worry of being tortured or demeaned in any way. After all your set of circumstances have brought you to your belief. But on the same line, we should have respect for another point of view, even if it seems crazy. If you stop that truth from coming out, you may miss a grain of truth you may need to learn to live more openly.

I relate that to the lowly dandelion and my mother. My mother was anemic and had very bad health in general. But when I was young I would see her out in the lawn digging out the dandelions and tossing them away. Knowing what we know about that so-called weed, this could have been the medicine my mother could have ingested and become much healthier, regardless of the ungroomed lawn. What gems or weeds of health are we missing by calling each other names and not learning someone else’s truth?

On another level… As scary as the world of ‘1984’ is, the misogyny of past sci-fi and fantasy is very clear here. I didn’t notice this when I was a teen. Almost all the books I read were male-heavy. I remember asking about it only once. The answer was we had to have these books because boys have a hard time learning to and then liking reading. Having watched my brothers with that very problem I didn’t think about it again. I had trouble with reading but found ways to get around the problems and I LOVED reading. (Still do.)

In this book the main character’s wife won’t give him a divorce, they had infertility problems. He gets the wet dream fantasy fulfilled in a woman who gives without requiring anything from him, not even or especially not wanting love. Finally, there is the woman out in the yard who sings with clothespins in her mouth and he finds her big hips sexually appealing though in another segment he is reminded how like his mother she is. So beyond sex and birth, it seems this generation of sci-fi writers seemed to have nothing to do with women. That should have been our biggest warning! Of all that happened to this character!!!!! I find myself feeling foolish that it took me until my 60s to figure out how little part women play in most men’s lives. I have a friend that tried to tell me this when I was still into makeup and clothes–and making my own babies. But it is because I decided to make my reading diet be mostly female writers with female main characters, and not in the romantic chic-lit stuff. More along the lines of Bechdel. (Google her) This is also how I choose to watch TV/Movies. Women have to hold up half of the sky of whatever I read or watch. Equally important. That was not the case in this book. And years ago I might not have noticed. Now I am nearly blinded by it. So if you haven’t seen it as strong as I have, try my ‘diet’. Give it a year or so. I especially challenge male to try this. When you notice the lack of human equality in reading or what you watch maybe you will be part of the change? Maybe if women hold their own in a story like ‘1984’ we may find ways to avoid that crazy kind of life.

Do read this. No matter which side of the fence, or gender, there are weeds of health here we all need!

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Ashes and Arsenic (Preternatural Affairs, #6)Ashes and Arsenic by S.M. Reine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Agent Cèsar Hawke is not my favorite character. I prefer Ms. Reine’s female main characters. But Cèsar is humorous to read about. After all, I don’t know of any witch who has a major allergy to magic. Then, again, I don’t know many witches. So they may well exist out there somewhere.

Cèsar is self-effacing, definitely not a macho man. He does cause me to giggle every now and then. In this book, we get to know more about his brother and father. We’ve already met his sister and she’s off doing her own thing.

This was a one-day read and as usual Ms. Reine kept my interest. The thing about S.M. Reine is how prolific she is. My goodness, I keep thinking I’ve read everything by her and she comes out with more. I love it all! Even though she often writes about demons or other scary subjects, she is able to keep the story light enough to enjoy and yet suspenseful enough that I didn’t want to stop reading. She throws in her great sense of humor causing the aforementioned occasional giggle.

I want to thank Sara for letting me read her books free for review. Sorry it takes me so long sometimes, but I keep it honest.

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Hotter Than Helltown (Preternatural Affairs, #3)Hotter Than Helltown by S.M. Reine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Disclosure: I was given this ARC edition, by the author, for an honest review.

For something as gruesome and dark as the name implies, Hotter Than Helltown was a fast, exciting read. And funny! I can’t tell you how often I laughed out loud! And there were places of philosophy to make a person stop and think. I like that in a book. I even had to highlight a phrase or two I thought noteworthy. But I don’t want to ruin anyone else’s read by pointing the gems out. Half the fun in is discovery for yourself.

I have grown to like the self-depreciating detective turned witch, Cesar, for his humanity. Though we see him as quite the hunk, he knows he’s not the catch women might think they want. Despite himself he is the reluctant hero of this particular series, Preternatural Affairs. Though you don’t have to read all the books of the series before it, I like that I have the knowledge of S. M. Reine’s worlds.

For an ARC I see less error than I do in many publications out there today. That just proves what a professional author is capable of. Well done, Sara! I can’t wait to read the next one, already cued up!

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Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Libraries, bookstores and friends (family) the true gold of this world. At least for me. Family fits in there, too, but to me, they are friends with common DNA. Just like books in the bookstore or library, a friend/family member is there to lend their uniqueness to your life. Gold.

I borrowed this book from the library. I was lucky that they had it in Kindle form and that text-to-speech was enabled. I think I will have to buy this book in Kindle form and see if there is an Audible version. That would make the book even more golden.

Thank you, my good friends, for recommending this book so highly. Though it fits none of my criteria for my reading goals of ‘books by women with strong female protagonist’, it still has a couple women that are smart and goal oriented. Still, it wouldn’t pass the Bechdel Test http://bechdeltest.com/.

Look, for many of you the title will dissuade you from reading the book. It, frankly, sounds dreary! But as I was telling my husband, it feels as intriguing as Da Vinci Code (sorry, I never read that one–not my kind of book). There are codes to solve and mysteries to unravel all against the background of San Francisco and New York. For me, the best part is that there is no blood and guts to worry about. Yet the story keeps you engaged, wondering what is going to happen next.

I would like to read it again. I look forward to the second book.

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Review: Defying Fate


Defying Fate
Defying Fate by S.M. Reine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Taking a break from Elise in this book. Climb into James Faulkner’s mind and life. I liked meeting his son and previous girlfriend and seeing how that dynamic affects James’s life.

If anyone has been paying attention, I have been working my way through all of Sara Reine’s books. She is very creative and has an odd combination of fantasy and real life. This Descent series centers in the Reno/Tahoe area and I find myself wanting to go check out the landmarks. Maybe I will find the Dance studio and meet James or Elise. But then we are suddenly cast into Hell or Heaven or a Haven or other dimension, often that mirror the Reno areas and I wonder if I could find those places and the nightmares, demons or angels that hang out there. Do suspend disbelief.

Since my computer wasn’t working right, yesterday, I couldn’t write this review properly on my laptop. Instead, I found the next book and started reading it. Yay, Elise is back in that one!

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A Story of River
A Story of River by Lana Axe
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I am one of the few people that finds Lord of the Rings to be the most boring, male chauvinist books around. So I have to say, that if you like LotR you might like this. I found myself wanting to read other books. I had a hard time liking any of the characters. The one I did like? Well, I think the author didn’t know what to do with that character. Too bad. She was the only female that wasn’t arm candy.

The last few chapters of the book were engaging but had I not felt I needed to read this, I wouldn’t have gotten that far. I hate to give such a mediocre review. It was free for an honest review so I felt I should. But like I said above, there are a lot of male nerds and geeks that would love this and want it to be a video game they could play in their mother’s basement. Bad Dar, snark much?

Oh, I did like the dryads and River, too bad the story didn’t surround those instead of evil and war. Meh.

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