Cephalopod Coffeehouse Sept 2017: THE LIST, A Review

0ed81-coffeehouseHi there! Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the tomes they enjoyed most over the previous month. Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.

This month I’m featuring a post-apocalyptic YA adventure from Patricia Forde. THE LIST is a newly-republished novel, originally called THE WORDSMITH. I’ve only read this version, but I liked it bunches.

About the book:
In the city of Ark, speech is constrained to five hundred sanctioned words. Speak outside the approved lexicon and face banishment. The exceptions are the Wordsmith and his apprentice Letta, the keepers and archivists of all language in their post-apocalyptic, neo-medieval world.

On the death of her master, Letta is suddenly promoted to Wordsmith, charged with collecting and saving words. But when she uncovers a sinister plan to suppress language and rob Ark’s citizens of their power of speech, she realizes that it’s up to her to save not only words, but culture itself.

My Review:
Letta is the teenaged apprentice wordsmith of Ark, a community of survivors on post-apocalytic Earth. The ice caps melted and the seas rose and John Noa built a fortified town where some of humanity would survive. Letta’s parents, residents of Ark, disappeared when she was a small child, bound to search for more survivors. Letta was raised by the wordsmith, Benjamin, to treasure words, though the people of Arc are only given license to use the 500 words on their List as their language.

Benjamin isn’t pleased when he’s told to cut the List to 300 words, and Letta isn’t any happier. She’s in love with language, and words are her trade. She relishes knowing more words than most of Ark’s residents, and does her duty to keep making List words for the school children and apprentices of Ark when Benjamin goes on an extended journey.

John Noa’s theory that deceitful words of untrustworthy politicians destroyed the world has warped his mind, and he wants language eradicated and man to return to that of beasts, is pretty out there. Benjamin fought against him, and lost, which Letta discovers before it’s too late. She meets Marlo, a “Desecrator” or person who creates are or music and lives in the banished forest outside of Ark. Letta helps him recover from an attack by the Ark policing agents, and his family helps her track down the fate of Benjamin, and others who’d gotten in John Noa’s way.

This is an adventure that’s filled with intrigue and peril as Letta endeavors to find truth that’s been well hidden in ignorance. Her worldview is opened by her experiences with the Desecrators, and in witnessing the callousness of John Noa’s agents. They banish the old and infirm as well as the young. Their idyllic world is a shell game, and Letta’s blinders have been removed. She does her best to save the day, but it’s not over when it’s over. Letta, Marlo and the Desecrators need to find a way to help their fellow humans find a new direction, and it’ll take another book to get us there. Really interesting look at a totalitarian regime, and a censored society, from a teen’s point of view, and the plot kept moving along nicely as Letta made truth her mission.

Looking forward to the next adventure on this journey.

Interested? You can find THE LIST on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo. You can also likely find it in your local library–may be cross-listed as The Wordsmith. I read a review copy via NetGalley.

Thanks for popping in and be sure to visit my fellow Coffeehouse reviewers as they share reviews of their fave books for this month.

Sexing Their Way Down THE LIST–Review and Giveaway!

the-list-bt-banHi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a fun and sexy adult contemporary romance from Tawna Fenske. THE LIST is a hoot, and hawt, and made me smile lots and lots as a shy soil scientist inadvertently woos a computer millionaire.

Catch the review and enter the $50 Amazon GC giveaway down below.

the-listAbout the book:
As the millionaire owner of a chain of computer shops, Simon Traxel isn’t normally hands-on with mundane repairs. But when a fretful brunette shows up with her fried laptop and killer green eyes, he makes an exception. And as it turns out, she needs more hands-on help than Simon imagined.

Brainy soil scientist Cassie Michaels has spent her whole life feeling like a grungy tree trunk beside her delicate flower sisters. To make herself more interesting, Cassie invented stories about her wild sex life—stories she’s expected to retell in vivid detail at a bachelorette party. Cassie’s attempt to catalog her biggest whoppers goes awry when she spills wine on her laptop and lands in Simon’s shop with her sexy list frozen on the screen.

But Simon’s interest is piqued, and the two strike a deal to make Cassie’s make-believe sexploits a reality. From steamy public romps gone hilariously awry, to sexy antics with kitchen utensils, their quest to conquer The List is equal parts scorching hot and adorably awkward.

As they near the end of The List though, Cassie and Simon second guess their pledge to shake hands and say goodbye when they cross off the last item. But will Simon’s big secret make that the one fantasy that can never come true?

My Review:
Cassie is a woman who has always been on the fringe. Her sisters are feminine and prissy, looking for the best catch of a man, while she was a tomboy digging in the dirt. She’s a woman of science in a male-dominated field. Her biggest interests are soil, and ecology–and she’s felt lack-luster as a result. To keep from attending the fussy parties her sisters throw Cassie has spent years dishing completely fabricated stories of her non-existent erotic romps. She’s loved impressing her sisters with her imaginary worldly and sex-positive lifestyle, but it’s nearly time for one of her sisters to have a bachelorette party and all the attendees are bursting to hear the latest juicy tales.

Cassie types up a list of all the kinky things she’s claimed to do, just to keep it all straight in her head, and ends up spilling wine on her computer–freezing The List to her desktop screen. Mortified, and hoping to salvage her documents and self-respect, Cassie rushes off the the nearest Hot Swap computer shop for immediate repairs. She has no idea the man behind the counter, Simon Traxel, is the owner of the store chain. She only knows that Simon fixes her computer lickety-split.

Simon’s immediately attracted to the frantic woman at his counter–first because she’s a little frumpy, and clearly embarrassed about her hot list of sexploits. He makes a special effort to bring her repaired laptop to her home–because her phone number wasn’t written correctly and he couldn’t reach her otherwise. They strike up a conversation and Simon’s delighted to learn that list wasn’t Cassie’s completed activities, it’s a sexual “bucket list” and one of those items is…uh, hot sex with a tall, dark-haired stranger with ripped abs. Turns out, Simon fits that description, and he’s not looking for any strings in his sex life; gold diggers don’t seem to get that he has deep obligations to his younger sister, Junie, a woman with Downs Syndrome now that their parents have passed away.

Cassie and Simon quickly discover that they are completely sexually compatible, and well, Simon’s totally down with helping Cassie work her way through The List. It becomes a bargain with a catch, as they learn, because the more time they spend with each other, the more they develop real feelings. They chat and text and hang out even when they aren’t sexing, and Simon gets more and more conflicted about hiding his identity from Cassie. He doesn’t want her to want him for his money–but, beside that–he is afraid to introduce her to Junie. Junie, who desperately wants Simon to find love, and remembers all his past girlfriends over the years. Women who left him when they had to share his attention with Junie.

I really liked this one! Junie is a breath of fresh air when she chides Simon for never finding a good woman, and Cassie’s a fun gal to get to know. Her complicated relationship with her sisters felt relatable and interesting, and the sexytimes are Yumm-oh! Cassie’s got a very creative imagination, and Simon’s flexible enough to make the plans happen in word and deed. Also, he’s not above a quick veer into a dark closet for some spontaneous down and dirty business, no matter his bank account. Naturally, the deception angle is going to lead to hurt and separation. Still, it’s a brief separation, and I adored how the secondary characters stepped up in a big way to bring these two back together. I think I broke my smile-bone reading this one, it was really upbeat and amusing throughout. Geeks-in-love is a fave story trope, and this one was done very well. Definitely recommend!

Interested? You can find THE LIST on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo.


Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card!
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Tawna Fenske is a USA Today bestselling author who writes humorous fiction, risqué romance, and heartwarming love stories with a quirky twist. Her offbeat brand of romance has received multiple starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, one of which noted, “There’s something wonderfully relaxing about being immersed in a story filled with over-the-top characters in undeniably relatable situations. Heartache and humor go hand in hand.”

Tawna lives in Bend, Oregon with her husband, step-kids, and a menagerie of ill-behaved pets. She loves hiking, snowshoeing, standup paddleboarding, and inventing excuses to sip wine on her back porch. She can peel a banana with her toes and loses an average of twenty pairs of eyeglasses per year.

Catch up with Tawna on her website, blog, Facebook, or twitter.

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