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Annie the Book

AnnieTheBook@bookwyrm.social

Joined 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Librarian, velocireader, word nerd.

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Judgment at Tokyo (2023, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group) 4 stars

A landmark, magisterial history of the trial of Japan’s leaders as war criminals—the largely overlooked …

Judgment at Tokyo, by Gary J. Bass

4 stars

What do we do when the war is over? The treaties and surrenders have been signed. The prisoners have been returned (hopefully). The armies have been demobbed. But the trauma remains, especially after wars as horrific as World War II. So many millions died that it seems wrong to just allow the surviving leaders of the German, Italian, and Japanese governments to live out their lives in peace, especially when the violence committed by Nazi and Imperial Japanese forces went well beyond the battlefield. After World War I, the victors relied on reparations, forced demilitarization, and treaties to ensure peace. After World War II, the victors turned to international law to hold (at least some) of their former enemies responsible. In Europe, Nazis were tried and sentenced at the Nuremberg Tribunals. In Asia, the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, held in Tokyo, attempted to do the same to …

Season of Monstrous Conceptions (2023, Doherty Associates, LLC, Tom) 3 stars

A Season of Monstrous Conceptions, by Lina Rather

3 stars

Childbirth is stressful and unpredictable in real life but, in Lina Rather’s brisk novel, A Season of Monstrous Conceptions, a touch of magic makes things even more so for the mothers who birth children who bear the marks of another world. Sarah Davis is an apprentice midwife, learning to help both mother and child survive the often traumatic labor. She also has a touch of the other world, herself, allowing her to manipulate the force that’s seeping into England in the wake of the Great Fire of London...

Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, for review consideration.

Haunting in Hialeah Gardens (2023, Penguin Publishing Group) 5 stars

A genre-bending debut with a fiercely political heart, A Haunting in Hialeah Gardens explores the …

A Haunting in Hialeah Gardens, by Raul Palma

5 stars

Hugo Contreras will be the first to tell you that he’s a fraud at the same time that he sells you healing candles and charms at the botánica where he works. His boss, however, believes that Hugo actually has the ability to see and talk to the supernatural. Both of these facts contribute to the unbelievable job offer that lands in Hugo’s lap at the beginning of A Haunting in Hialeah Gardens, the frightening and affecting new novel by Raul Palma. If Hugo agrees to work a cleansing for the man he considers his worst enemy, he can wipe out the debt that’s been following him for decades...

Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, for review consideration.

Cities of Women (2024, Turner Publishing Company) 1 star

Cities of Women, by Kathleen B. Jones

1 star

Christine de Pizan is one of the few medieval women we know from their own words who wasn’t either a member of a religious order or a member of a royal family. Her works reflect a philosophical mind that wanted to improve the world around her. Illuminated copies of her books are absolutely beautiful; they are treasures from an otherwise appalling century. The beauty of de Pizan’s poetry and the books made to show off that poetry are a central part of Kathleen B. Jones’s novel, Cities of Women. Unfortunately, the inspiration of Christine de Pizan and the Book of the Queen are not enough to elevate an otherwise dull story of two women who have to deal with mundanities in order to have beauty in their lives...

Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from the …

Even Though I Knew the End (Hardcover, 2022, Doherty Associates, Tor) 5 stars

A magical detective dives into the affairs of Chicago's divine monsters to secure a future …

Even Though I Knew the End, by C.L. Polk

5 stars

Every book I’ve read by C.L. Polk is better than the last. I liked Witchmark. I enjoyed The Midnight Bargain. But Even Though I Knew the End entertained me and got me right in the feels; I loved this book. Even Though I Knew the End opens in a wintery, magical Chicago in 1940. Irregular investigator and thwarted magician Helen Brandt is quietly tying up the loose ends of her life when her best client sends her to a crime scene that Helen instantly wants to run from. The only thing that keeps Helen on the job is the promise from this client that she might be rewarded with the impossible: her soul and the chance to live a full life with her lover, Edith...

Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type.

Pomegranate Gate (2023, Kensington Publishing Corporation) 5 stars

Ariel Kaplan’s The Pomegranate Gate is the lyrical first installment of the Mirror Realm Cycle, …

The Pomegranate Gate, by Ariel Kaplan

5 stars

Ariel Kaplan uses elements of the fall of the Islamic states on the Iberian peninsula and Jewish myth to create a stunning world—and a stunning series opener—in The Pomegranate Gate. Our protagonists are forced to flee their homes when word comes that the Inquisition is coming to either force the Jewish people to convert or leave with only the clothes on their backs. Toba and Naftaly have barely been on the road a day when very strange things start to happen that change everything they thought they knew about the world. I am really looking forward to the next book in the series because this book ended with a hell of a cliffhanger...

Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, for review consideration.

All You Have to Do Is Call (2023, Penguin Publishing Group) 2 stars

All You Have to Do is Call, by Kerri Maher

2 stars

This is going to be a challenging review to write. There are quite a few things about All You Have to Do is Call, by Kerri Maher, that annoy me very much. These things annoy me so much that I’m not sure I’ll be fair to the book’s virtues. This book isn’t all bad; I’ve certainly read worse. And I think there are readers who will enjoy this whirlwind dip into the last months of the Jane Collective, before their arrest the year before the monumental Roe v. Wade decision was handed down...

Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, for review consideration.

The Fraud (Hardcover, 2026, Penguin Press) 5 stars

From acclaimed and bestselling novelist Zadie Smith, a kaleidoscopic work of historical fiction set against …

The Fraud, by Zadie Smith

5 stars

The title of Zadie Smith’s latest novel, The Fraud, is our first prompt to question the distance between our inner self and the self (or selves) we present to others. The parade of characters we meet brings even more questions about who we really are. These pages contain the confused, the dissatisfied, the brash, the claimants, the deluded, and more. It’s a dizzying array of psychology that refuses to provide solid answers to any of the questions it raises. I’m not complaining! A healthy dose of self-reflection is good for the soul...

Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, for review consideration.

And the Band Played On (Paperback, 2007, St. Martin's Griffin) 5 stars

The blueprint of 20th century investigative journalism. Tracing the course of HIV/AIDS through society; from …

And the Band Played On, by Randy Shilts

5 stars

I was born in 1981. That year some of the earliest cases of what would come to be known as AIDS were diagnosed, although the disease had been present in the United States since the late 1970s. I can remember the fear of AIDS that floated around while I was in elementary school. There were stories about whether or not you could get AIDS from sharing a drinking fountain. I remember the news breaking about Ryan White, a hemophiliac who contracted AIDS from a blood transfusion. Reading Randy Shilts’s monumental work, And the Band Played On, brings so much back to life. Looking back over forty years later, this book not only recalls the fear and confusion and anger of the early years of the AIDS epidemic, it also brings back the years when it seemed like the progress of the LGBTQ+ rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s …

Mammoths at the Gates (EBook, 2023, Tor) 4 stars

The wandering Cleric Chih returns home to the Singing Hills Abbey for the first time …

Mammoths at the Gates, by Nghi Vo

4 stars

Story-gatherer Chih returns to the Singing Hills in this fourth volume in the series, Mammoths at the Gates, by Nghi Vo. We previously visited Chih and their neixin companion Almost Brilliant on their adventures around the empire. Their mission was to gather as many stories and as much information as they could to bring back to the Singing Hills, to save for posterity. But every journey has to end someday and it’s been years since Chih was home...

Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, for review consideration.

Strangers to Ourselves (2022, Penguin Random House) 5 stars

For years, I have devoured Rachel Aviv’s nuanced New Yorker features on challenging topics like …

Strangers to Ourselves, by Rachel Aviv

5 stars

In Strangers to Ourselves, Rachel Aviv presents a series of portraits of mental illness, portraits that call into question a raft of preconceived notions about what it means to be considered insane. Aviv’s collection is one of the most evenhanded arguments for reconsideration of how we treat the mentally ill. It’s not a polemic against Big Pharma. It’s also not a call to ditch psychiatry wholesale. Instead, Aviv shows us that mental illness is just really complicated.

Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type.

Night Watch (Hardcover, Knopf) 4 stars

From one of our most accomplished novelists, a mesmerizing story about a mother and daughter …

Night Watch, by Jayne Anne Phillips

4 stars

There are a lot of secrets in Jayne Anne Phillips’s haunting novel, Night Watch. They slowly unspool over the course of 300 pages in a way that made me feel like I almost couldn’t bear to hear another, while at the same time drawing me along until every bit of plot had been wrung out of the characters. But then, set against the turmoil and trauma of the American Civil War, I suppose it’s not surprising to see what the small family at the heart of this novel has to bear...

Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, for review consideration.

Hexologists (2023, Orbit) 4 stars

The first book in a wildly entertaining new fantasy series from acclaimed author Josiah Bancroft …

The Hexologists, by Josiah Bancroft

4 stars

Iz Wilby is adamant that she will never work for the Crown. And, in Josiah Bancroft’s novel, The Hexologists, we learn just why Iz resists taking the job pitched to her by the king’s secretary. What starts as a relatively simple case of finding out if a blackmailer really is the king’s illegitimate child turns into a deadly game of magic and skullduggery. Thankfully for us readers, it’s enormously entertaining to watch it all unfold...

Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, for review consideration.

He Who Drowned the World (Hardcover, 2023, Tor Books) 4 stars

Zhu Yuanzhang, the Radiant King, is riding high on her recent victory that tore southern …

He Who Drowned the World, by Shelley Parker-Chan

4 stars

Shelley Parker-Chan concludes her fantastical account of the meteoric rise of Zhu Yuanzhang in He Who Drowned the World. (The first book of the duology is She Who Became the Sun.) In Parker-Chan’s version of events, Zhu is the unloved daughter of a poor farming family who “stole” her brother’s fate after the death of all her relatives. In disguise as a boy, Zhu badgered a monastery into feeding and teaching her until they were destroyed by agents of the Yuan Dynasty. That didn’t stop the driven Zhu: she manages to fight her way to the top of a rebel army. In this concluding volume, we see Zhu’s audacity in full force as she battles the Yuan Emperor and everyone else who claims to hold the Mandate of Heaven...

Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book …

Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers (2023, Penguin Publishing Group) 5 stars

Put the kettle on, there’s a mystery brewing… Tea-shop owner. Matchmaker. Detective?

Sixty-year-old self-proclaimed tea …

Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers, by Jesse Q. Sutanto

5 stars

Few friends can say, like the characters in Jesse Q. Sutanto’s highly entertaining novel Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers, that what brought them together was a murder. Fewer still, I think, could say that a murder was when their lives started to change for the better...

Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type.