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Decalino

Decalino

Joined April 2016

Ex ex-pat
review
Decalino
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Set in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, this police procedural follows Inspector Mislan as he tries to solve a horrifying and dramatically presented murder. Mislan must deal with office politics, police corruption and threats of gang retribution while piecing together the true story. Written by a former inspector with the Malaysian police, the details--and the food--give this book an authentic flavor.

7 likes1 stack add
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Decalino
Universal Harvester | John Darnielle
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This truly unsettling book takes place in a small Iowa town in the 1990s, where a young video store clerk named Jeremy gets reports of something strange on a couple of rentals and becomes almost unwillingly involved in the search for answers. Creeping dread and profound loss are threaded through this strangely haunting story; anyone looking for a linear plot and simple answers will be disappointed, but the ambiguity makes it even harder to forget.

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Decalino
Wayward: A Novel | Chuck Wendig
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If you enjoyed Wanderers, you should definitely read this sequel--but clear your calendar, it is a chunky doorstop of a book. In both theme and tone, these two books feel like The Stand--people are drawn into battles against true evil, but it's not always clear to the participants what role they are meant to play. The author is clearly working through some feelings about our recent political landscape; I found it cathartic, to be honest.

13 likes1 stack add
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Decalino
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In this powerful book, author Clint Smith explores the legacy of slavery by traveling to Monticello, Jefferson's plantation; Angola prison, where slavery transitioned to forced labor without missing a beat; a Confederate heritage celebration; & NYC's Central Park, where an integrated community of free Black residents & Irish immigrants once stood. By turns revelatory & disturbing, a must read for anyone interested in our country's true history.

21 likes1 stack add
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Decalino
The Survivors | Jane Harper
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When Kieran returns home to Evelyn Bay after a long absence, reminders of the tragic events that drove him away are everywhere. After a young woman is found dead, long kept secrets begin to unravel, revealing the truth about that long ago day. Grief and guilt mark this slow burn story of loss in a small coastal town.

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Decalino
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I loved this series and the third installment did not disappoint. El has survived graduation day but unfinished business leads her to work with the Enclaves to save them from mysterious attacks. An intricately plotted story with exquisite world building and vivid characters, whose story arcs come to unexpected but deeply satisfying conclusions, The Scholomance series is officially a personal favorite. Loved it!

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Decalino
The World We Make | N. K. Jemisin
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This sequel to The City We Became finds the avatars of New York struggling to understand how best to represent their city & realize their potential, while the Enemy works to undo everything they've fought for, enabling hateful allies like the Proud Men & a mayoral candidate who wants to make NYC "great again." A rollicking, cathartic read for anyone who loves a city in all its complexity, or who'd enjoy using a bass drop to vanquish the haters.

12 likes1 stack add
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Decalino
Fairy Tale | Stephen King
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This absorbing novel synthesizes fantasy and fairy tale tropes into an otherworldly and sometimes gruesome boy-and-dog adventure.17-year-old Charlie Reade helps an elderly recluse, Mr. Bowditch, after he falls and breaks his leg. His affection for Mr. Bowditch's dog Radar leads him on a fantastic journey into grave danger, & transforms him in the process. I meant to read it over Halloween, but it made for good Blood Moon lunar eclipse reading too.

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Decalino
The Witch and the Tsar | Olesya Salnikova Gilmore
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I wasn't sure about this novel at first; its blend of Russian-flavored fairy tale and historical fiction took some getting used to. Yaga, demonized in folk tale as Baba Yaga, is the immortal daughter of the earth goddess Mokosh. She just wants to live in the woods with her animal friends and her chicken-legged hut, healing the occasional villager, but when she's drawn into mortal affairs, she must fight to save Russia from a blood-thirsty tsar.

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Decalino
Little Eyes: A Novel | Samanta Schweblin
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In this brief but deeply unsettling novel, a line of cute new robot animals appear on the market, each with the potential for a connection to a real live person. The implications are deeply disturbing, as anyone who's watched Black Mirror can easily imagine. Deft, precise storytelling render what could have been a tired premise both hauntingly familiar and freshly horrifying. I am still thinking about it days later.

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Decalino
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Ha, a scientist, is brought to a remote island chain to investigate tales of an intelligent sea creature living in the bay. What follows is a deeply thoughtful and thought-provoking exploration of consciousness, identity, language and connection, set against a background of artificial intelligence, corporate greed, and environmental devastation. A truly remarkable book.

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Decalino
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Set in the 80s, this dark, twisty thriller follows Wayland, a very angry teenager certain his father's suicide is not what it seemed. He witnessed this tragedy and has been deeply marked by the trauma; his bullying best friend, his wild younger sister, and his mostly absent mother are no help in his efforts to seek answers, but even when his crush joins the search, Wayland's single-minded focus leads to unspeakable disaster & shocking revelations.

blurb
Decalino
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"There is no silence in the living nervous system."

Loving this one so far!

#FirstLineFridays
@ShyBookOwl

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Decalino
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This sequel to Doors of Sleep was a delightful adventure, providing an alternative perspective (& helpful refresher!) on the events of the first book while alternating chapters relay Zax's efforts to reunite with lost friends (& save the universe!) Zax hasn't lost his compassion or his drive to help others in need, despite the setbacks he's faced along the way. A big heart, great secondary characters & rollicking adventure make this a pick for me.

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Decalino
Bunny: A Novel | Mona Awad
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In this biting satire, a lonely young writer enrolled in a graduate program at an elite school falls in with a group of women whose penchant for hugs and endearments ("Bunny!") hides an unexpected commitment to radical experimentation. Sharp, incisive writing and inventive turns made this a particularly memorable read. Planning to check out another book by this author soon!

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Decalino
Lark Ascending | Silas House
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I had the pleasure of hearing author Silas House read from this book at Joseph-Beth in Lexington. Inspired by the author's own grief at the loss of a loved one as well as the rising tide of intolerance, this near future dystopia follows a young man named Lark as he flees his family refuge in Maine for a haven in Ireland. As violence & grief threaten to overwhelm him, small moments of natural beauty & the love of a good dog keep him from giving up.

Scochrane26 I didn‘t get to attend that event, but I saw him at the book fair. Reading the book now. 2w
16 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Decalino
The Essex Serpent | Sarah Perry
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Freed from the confines of an abusive marriage, Cora moves to the countryside in search of fossils, and hears of the legendary Essex serpent. Her magnetic presence and flouting of convention make waves in the village as she strikes up an unlikely friendship with the local reverend. I can see why they made a show based on this book--great characters and an intriguing plot.

KristiAhlers I loved this story! 2mo
19 likes1 comment
review
Decalino
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This subtly satirical novel opens in 2008 as John McCain loses to Barack Obama, setting off an existential crisis in a man we know only as the Big Guy. Used to being in control, he brings together a group of like-minded men to develop a long term plan to take back the country. Meanwhile, his wife and daughter are taking the first steps toward independence from his gravitational pull. This was a slow burn but by the end I considered it a pick.

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Decalino
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This book is probably best enjoyed by serious fans of Star Trek: the Next Generation, and even then you should probably have a high tolerance for wacky hijinks paired with disturbing stalker details. Luckily I have always loved Data, and Brent Spiner has certainly created something memorable in this amalgam of memoir and Hollywood whodunit. The result seems like an episode where the Holodeck is glitching big time and all safety protocols are off.

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Decalino
Until the Last of Me | Sylvain Neuvel
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This second book in the Take Them to the Stars series continues the propulsive story of the Kibsu, a mysterious mother-daughter pair driven to help humanity achieve spaceflight in order to save them from destruction. Both the Kibsu and their nemesis, the ruthless Tracker, veer from their paths in unexpected ways. This is a tale of persistence in the face of failure, of devastating loss and drastic action. I will wait in suspense for the next book.

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Decalino
The Sleepless | Victor Manibo
Mehso-so

In a world where millions of people no longer require sleep, journalist Jamie Vega spends all 24 of his daily waking hours trying to figure out who killed his boss. An intriguing concept, but the breathless present tense conspiracy plot and 2D secondary characters made it hard to connect with the narrator or his world. The ending was interesting enough to justify reading this book, but I might have enjoyed it more if it had taken its time.

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Decalino
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This powerful novel follows the Melekhov family, Cossacks with Turkish ancestry, as life along the Don is impacted first by WWI and then by the death of the Tsar. Beautifully detailed scenes of the natural world are followed by episodes of harrowing violence. The author does not shy away from portraying the evils that men do to one another, particularly in times of war. Still, I am glad to have read this extraordinary, memorable book.

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Decalino
The Anomaly | Herv Le Tellier
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This book was a trip, in every sense of the word. I started it while waiting at an airport, maybe not the best idea since the plot involves an Air France flight to NY that encounters terrifying turbulence, with unexpected results. The Anomaly is ultimately a high concept existentential thriller with a distinct flavor of the original French. It quickly reaches conclusions that are open to considerably more debate, but the payoff is a bonkers ending

IuliaC Great review! I very much enjoyed this one too 3mo
Decalino @IuliaC Thanks! 🙂 3mo
14 likes2 comments
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Decalino
Cloud Cuckoo Land | Anthony Doerr
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I wasn't sure about this book at first; the beginning introduced multiple characters separated in space and time, mostly children in danger or dire circumstance, and I was worried it would be too grim. Luckily I kept reading. The ancient fragmented story threaded through these seemingly disconnected lives brings everything together in the end, in a deeply satisfying way. It's a chunkster, but ultimately worth it.

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Decalino
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This sobering & highly readable book outlines the factors that have given rise to sectarian violence & civil war in places like Bosnia, Burma and Rwanda, most notably the emergence of factions based on identity & the perception of an existential threat. The author explores the increasing risk of political violence in the US, & what steps can be taken now to limit that risk before it's too late. A must read for anyone who wants a peaceful future.

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Decalino
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Mehso-so

This was an intriguing concept: white people wake up to find their hair, skin & eyes have become dark overnight. Unfortunately, the story is told in such a mannered, stylized way that I felt constantly distracted & annoyed. Nearly every paragraph is a long sentence, comma splice after comma splice, ad nauseam. I had to mentally add periods & the occasional semi-colon just to finish it. But it was short, and an interesting idea, so there's that.

Decalino For reference, here's a review from NPR, with a sample paragraph: https://www.npr.org/2022/08/09/1116137982/the-last-white-man-mohsin-hamid-review 4mo
12 likes1 comment
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Decalino
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When cancer threatens the life of his young daughter, Mario takes drastic action to get money for the medical bills, leading him down a grim and grisly path. In this remarkable work of supernatural noir, sinister otherworldly forces are at work but it is human greed, fear and hatred that unleash them on the world. Absorbing and gruesome, and definitely not for the squeamish.

vivastory I'm looking forward to reading this one. My botm box is on backorder and won't ship until the end of the month 4mo
18 likes1 comment
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Decalino
Riot Baby | Tochi Onyebuchi
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This brief, powerful novel follows Ella and her brother Kevin, who was born during the 1992 LA riots, when the cops who beat Rodney King were found not guilty. This is an origin story born of rage, as Ella's power grows and the state relies increasingly on surveillance to maintain control. The author notes that he was inspired by NK Jemisin's Broken Earth trilogy, and I can totally see it. A searing look at the fruits of injustice.

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Decalino
Woman, Eating | Claire Kohda
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Lydia is a 23-year-old aspiring artist starting an internship at a gallery after taking a year off to care for her mother. She is also a vampire, raised to survive on pig's blood & consider herself a monster. Faced with unexpected challenges, Lyd struggles to feed herself & ultimately, to understand her place in the world. A strangely realistic vampire novel, rooted in the realities of being young, uncertain and different from everyone around you.

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Decalino
A Half-Built Garden | Ruthanna Emrys
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A first-contact story set in a near-future world where megacorporations have been exiled to man-made islands, nation states are in decline, and a network of communities devoted to restoring and maintaining the world's watersheds do their best to work toward a sustainable future. A hopeful contrast to my usual steady diet of dystopias, this novel focuses on the connections that make us stronger, and the work it takes to forge them.

12 likes2 stack adds
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Decalino
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This brief work imagines an infamous--and real--hospital for hysterical women from the perspective of its inmates. Their fragmentary lives, the bizarre performances rewarded by exploitative doctors, the actual photographs from the hospital archives--it all blends into a strangely compelling fever dream, an urge to stake claim to individual identity in the face of an imaginary illness invented and described by men to give them power over women.

11 likes1 stack add
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Decalino
City of Orange | David Yoon
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Mehso-so

With some ruthless editing, this could have been a good novella. It only got interesting around pg 160 (why was I stilll reading at that point? That is my curse.) Up to that point, it was like watching someone else play a video game, a boring one. The story of a solitary, amnesiac man in a desolate landscape, City of Orange alludes to Castaway and the Truman Show, but the closer parallel is The Fisher King. If only the book had made me care.

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Decalino
The Fervor | Alma Katsu
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Set primarily in a Japanese internment camp during WWII, this chilling horror novel describes a mysterious and sometimes deadly sickness, with symptoms that include attacks of violent rage. Both science and the supernatural play a role, but the true evil is clearly humanity's recurring willingness to dehumanize others. It's definitely worth reading the afterword for more on this infamous period in US history. A tense and timely read.

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Decalino
The Dreamers | Karen Walker
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On the campus of a small California college, one student after another succumbs to a mysterious sleeping sickness. A lonely freshman, a paranoid prepper father & his young daughters, a young couple & their newborn, a biology professor, all are affected as the sleeping sickness spreads. A fascinating exploration of the nature of dreams & reality, identity, memory & perhaps even prophecy. I will be thinking about this one for a long time.

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Decalino
The Silent Patient | Alex Michaelides
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Wow, this was a twisty one! I started it after finding it on the shelf of our AirBnb in Chicago, and bought it on the kindle as soon as we got home so I could finish it. Theo, a psychotherapist with some issues of his own, gets a job at the Grove psychiatric hospital to treat an artist who hasn't spoken since she was found over her husband's dead body. The Hitchcock-worthy plot kept me in suspense and off balance until the very end.

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Decalino
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Panpan

Everyone appears to love this book, but I really didn't. The connection to nature was the strongest & most compelling element, but Kya's life was just wildly implausible, a fantasy of poverty. Her story was told in a way that is just not appealing to me: sentimental, overwrought, but treated as deeply meaningful. Tbh, I only read it because my s-i-l gave it to me, and because the author's wanted for questioning in a murder in Zambia. Not for me!

FortunateSon Read this last year, and I didn't hate it, but I definitely didn't love it like most people did, either. 5mo
SamAnne Completely agree with your review. Loved the nature descriptions. Nothing else. 5mo
sprainedbrain Totally agree. Great review! 5mo
batsy Great review. The more time passes the more I cringe about the romanticising of a certain kind of femininity and poverty. 4mo
25 likes4 comments
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Decalino
Joan Is Okay | Weike Wang
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Joanna is a workaholic ICU doctor, the daughter of Chinese immigrants who returned to China when she started college. Her life is work, mainly because it's the only place she feels entirely at home. It's hard to explain why I loved this book, but Joanna's unique perspective and distinctive personality made her someone I wanted to spend time with. The book draws to a surprisingly poignant close as the pandemic is just beginning. I already miss it.

15 likes1 stack add
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Decalino
Child Zero | Chris Holm
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This fast-paced thriller takes place in a near-future dystopia where antibiotics no longer work and an act of bioterrorism has resulted in a health-based surveillance state. A cop becomes embroiled in the deadly hunt for a quarantined child and discovers secrets that others will kill for. The story had a thought-provoking ending--definitely worth reading the afterword to understand the level of research and care the author put into this scenario.

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Decalino
Horse: A Novel | Geraldine Brooks
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I've lived in Lexington, Kentucky for a year now, but had no idea the city's iconic blue horse logo was based on a real racehorse of the same name until my sister-in-law surprised me with this gripping novel. Parallel stories set in the pre-Civil War era and contemporary DC explore Lexington's rise to fame and his remarkable legacy. The title is simple, but the book is about so much more: art, history, race, humanity and love.

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Decalino
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My books are only vaguely organized (travel, science fiction, all time favorite keepers, non-fiction), pretty books for the best shelves, etc.

Everywhere: on shelves, in piles, on nightstands and end tables.

Hardcover books if possible, trade paperbacks where available, ebooks when I can't wait.

@MoonWitch94
#thoughtfulthursday

review
Decalino
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The subtitle says it all: Mel Brooks, born Melvin Kaminsky and raised in a tenement in Brooklyn, has had a remarkable life in show business. This memoir focuses on his work rather than his private life, but his confident, people-loving outsized personality shines through. As Martin Scorsese notes while presenting him with one of his many awards (he has EGOT status), he has "an anarchic spirit but a loving heart."

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Decalino
Clean Air | Sarah Blake
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Mehso-so

This was an interesting concept in theory: toxic pollen has wiped out much of humanity & forced survivors to live in air-filtered domes. A serial killer is slashing the domes at night, & a young mother named Izabel becomes weirdly connected to the killings. Izabel is boringly self-absorbed, spending her days watching 30-year-old reality show reruns between acupuncture, "privacy pod" sessions at the mall, & going ballistic at random. Just, why?

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Decalino
Hide | Kiersten White
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Wow, I was planning to just read a few chapters of this book and ended up reading it cover to cover in one sitting. A group of 14 contestants sign up to play a weeklong game of hide and seek, only to discover the stakes are much higher than advertised. A riveting, cinematic horror story with vivid characters and a pulse-pounding finale, set in an abandoned amusement park.

15 likes1 stack add
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Decalino
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It took me forever to read the 3 novels collected in this book, each a vision of Orange County in an imagined future: a subsistence community in a post-apocalyptic America cut off from the world; a techological wasteland fueled by drugs and the military-industrial-complex; and a town where intentionally restricted growth has created a quieter way of life. Connected by a common character, these alternate Californias explore what utopia really means

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Decalino
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As a very young man in Kentucky, Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan owned enslaved people and believed in compromise with the South. After fighting on the Union side in the Civil War, he saw that slavery was a poison and equal protection under the law the only cure. He wrote fiery dissents throughout his decades on the court, which would later be used by Thurgood Marshall as a playbook for civil rights litigation. A truly visionary life.

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Decalino
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This dark, riveting, unforgettable book has layer after layer, peeling back secrets to the very end. Carolyn & her siblings were adopted after their parents died, & raised in a library containing the secrets of the universe. Now Father is missing and control of the library is up for grabs. Imagine if the father in Umbrella Academy was a cruel, sadistic god, his punishments unthinkable & his control absolute. As brutal as it is brilliant. TW: rape.

sprainedbrain Great review. I loved this bananapants book! 😅 9mo
Decalino Thanks, me too! 9mo
28 likes2 comments
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Decalino
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In this entertaining read, Zax wakes up in a different universe every time he falls asleep. He tries to do good where he can wherever he lands, occasionally finding a companion on his travels, until an enemy from his past catches up with him. A good heart, intriguing characters, and a fun "Dr. Who meets Quantum Leap" vibe make this a pick for me, although I'm not so sure about that ending.

21 likes1 stack add
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Decalino
Project Hail Mary | Andy Weir
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It took me forever to finish this, but that's just because I am not naturally an audiobook person. This was a suspenseful and interesting book, a highly original first contact story with an unlikely hero and *LOTS* of science. The narrator did a great job, although his rendition of European bureaucrat Stratt (sp?) was slightly ridiculous. Fans of The Martian will likely enjoy it. (No F-bombs this time, though!)

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Decalino
My Heart Is a Chainsaw | Stephen Graham Jones
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Jade, a troubled and vulnerable high school student, has wished for a long time that the slasher movies she's obsessed with would descend on her hometown. When the bodies start falling, Jade tries to warn the newcomer she's convinced will be the "final girl," but finds her own secrets revealed in the process. A grisly shout out to horror films, yet the most horrifying part was all too real: a child, unprotected. TW: cutting, suicide, abuse.

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Decalino
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This was an unusual book, to say the least. Each section tells of scientific discovery, blending fact with fiction. The first is fairly straightforward, relating the discovery of the color Prussian Blue & the history of Zyklon B. Later sections become increasingly surreal, grotesque & fantastical. I'll classify this as a pick: it was fascinating & unlike anything I've ever read, but some elements were over the top, especially toward the end.