Saturday, June 30, 2018

Review: City of Thieves

City of Thieves City of Thieves by David Benioff
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Based on the author's grandfather's experience during the Second World War in Leningrad. A bit unbelievable, but actually everything about that time and place in history is unbelievable, so not so out-of-line. It's actually a weird combination of a coming-of-age story, love story, quixotic adventure, and grisly realism. It's weird to say this, but at the end it's a sweet story, although certainly not sweet in the middle.

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Sunday, June 24, 2018

Review: Eighth Grave After Dark

Eighth Grave After Dark Eighth Grave After Dark by Darynda Jones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, this ends on a serious downer despite the arrival of a new person in the form of Charley and Reyes' baby. Some massive changes occur, Charley finds out that what appears to be dangerous beasts are actually protection, and her dad is hanging around. Oh, and Cookie gets married. And she has found Reyes' family. And she rescues a teenager. But then, the ending...hoo boy. I need to move right on to #9!

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Sunday, June 10, 2018

Review: Hogs Wild: Selected Reporting Pieces

Hogs Wild: Selected Reporting Pieces Hogs Wild: Selected Reporting Pieces by Ian Frazier
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These were a lot of fun to read, but I can't finish the book. I've had it from the library for almost six weeks and I'm just not in the right head-space for it.
The wild pigs essay was delightful, however.

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Saturday, June 09, 2018

Review: Small Favor

Small Favor Small Favor by Jim Butcher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh my gosh how I adore these books, and the overall story. I'm worried about Michael at the end of this, and wondering how Harry is going to manage to continue to defuse the intricate bomb that the Forces of Evil seem to have built. But the story of the billy goats gruff, specifically the denouement of that little side-story, is absolutely wonderful. I can't wait to get the next one so I can find out what Karrin decides about ... weaponry and job titles.

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Review: Dare Me

Dare Me Dare Me by Eric Devine
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm calling this one at page 101. I am not in place where I want to read about teenage boys doing self-destructive things for fun.

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Review: The Punishment She Deserves

The Punishment She Deserves The Punishment She Deserves by Elizabeth George
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a reminder of how much I love George's writing! Lynley is back to being 100% engaged. Havers is still on the outs, but doing better about curbing her most obnoxious tendencies. Meanwhile, around them, the world seems bent on covering up murder and hiding the truth in general. This one is about college students in Shropshire, the death of a church deacon, lots of mindless sex and drinking, and the damage we all do to ourselves casually that has interminably long-lasting effects.

Also, the narrator of this was absolutely great.

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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Review: Lost States: True Stories of Texlahoma, Transylvania, and Other States That Never Made It

Lost States: True Stories of Texlahoma, Transylvania, and Other States That Never Made It Lost States: True Stories of Texlahoma, Transylvania, and Other States That Never Made It by Michael J. Trinklein
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What could have been had politicians been swayed somewhat differently from how things turned out.... Lots of western states would be different, but some of the things that are covered are about weird and recent proposals on the east coast and frankly all over the world. Sicily??

One map, though, that explains something about the southwest and Texas, has Colorado labeled as Wyoming. That was annoying.

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Review: 10 Things You Might Not Know About Nearly Everything: A Collection of Fascinating Historical, Scientific and Cultural Trivia about People, Places and Things

10 Things You Might Not Know About Nearly Everything: A Collection of Fascinating Historical, Scientific and Cultural Trivia about People, Places and Things 10 Things You Might Not Know About Nearly Everything: A Collection of Fascinating Historical, Scientific and Cultural Trivia about People, Places and Things by Mark Jacob
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fun. I had to keep reminding myself that this was written intentionally with a Chicago/Illinois slant, because Illinois just kept hitting just about every list.

If you like trivia and lists, this is a fun read.

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Sunday, May 20, 2018

Review: Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder

Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a great book! Yes, there is a great deal of non-Laura history included here, but it all goes in to show that while the Little House books were semi-autobiographical, they were not 100% accurate historically. Also, it's wise to remember that the books end with Laura at age (approx.) 20 and she lived another 65+ years after that point so her outlook on the world was bound to be somewhat different as an adult looking back at her childhood than had she written from kept diaries of her childhood.

Also, Rose...OMG that woman was a lunatic! What in the hell happened to her? How did Laura and Almanzo raise such a self-oriented, narcissistic piece of work? She was conniving and sneaky and delusional. I ended the book, as I admittedly started it, loathing her, but the surprise is that I didn't much like Laura as an adult either. However, I will add that knowing more about her adult outlook and political point of view make her much more 'real' than reading the kids' books ever has done for me. And I have read them dozens of times!!

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Review: God: A Human History

God: A Human History God: A Human History by Reza Aslan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a fascinating look at the history of our species' belief in God, from as far back as cave paintings and as current as today's theological wrangling among the major religions as well as between any of those religions and "science" as a belief system.

I'm not thoroughly convinced by some of his arguments about where humanity's religious bent arises, or how it has changed over time. It seems to be to be under-supported in some areas despite massive numbers of long footnotes (which I adore!) and sources. The parts of religion-history I know best--early Christian Church issues--are badly portrayed and simply not mentioned in huge swaths. However, the conclusion is interesting, and I learned a decent about about the history of Islam that dovetails in with what I already knew (not much) and now I'm interested in reading more about some of the earlier Muslim teachings.

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