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review 2017-08-21 20:01
Really academic but informative book
When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America - Ira Katznelson

This book has been touted recently in light of news on affirmative action so it seemed like a good candidate to borrow from the library. The title was intriguing (to me). Affirmative action is often associated with non-white people so I was curious to dig into the history and learn more about its origins, how it was implemented and more information to round out what I knew.

 

It was fascinating (and horrifying) to see how and why programs running from the New Deal to the GI Bill to Social Security, etc. were designed and implemented so that whites benefited. Some of this was political manueverings (objections and politics of Southern Democrats, for example). Some of it was by design (exclusion of farm workers and domestic). Definitely stuff that I don't remember when learning about the New Deal for instance (or very likely was never taught). 

 

That said, the criticisms are also on target. The writing style is tough to read, despite my interest and the topic and the author's enthusiasm for it. Sometimes the text is very uneven with very interesting passages then interspersed with really dry reading. It also could be quite repetitive and sometimes the points he's trying to make have been beaten to death.

 

That said, I'm glad I read it. I don't think I'll be checking out any other works by him but this was a good borrow from the library. Another book called 'The Color of Law' by Richard Rothstein focuses on discrimination on housing and would be a good supplement to this text.

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review 2017-08-20 21:38
Vivid Native American History for All Ages!
Native American Action Stories - Alvin R. Brown

Native American Action Stories: Exciting Events in Nine Different Tribes appears in its third revised edition and broadly defines 'events' as moving beyond military confrontations and into areas of competition, hunting, village attacks and more. It also embraces and rewrites the history of tribes across North and Central America, which makes for a satisfyingly different contrast of tribes, history, and actions. This different approach features a fine re-definition of Native actions and life challenges and is especially user-friendly for its intended adolescent audience with its larger font style and an accessible, inviting format. 

 

This author's note highlights the unique approach of these stories: "Fight-to-the-death forest ambushes by Northeastern natives in the dense forests; athletic games--similar to lacrosse--so physically demanding that natives of the Southeast referred to these contests as "Little Brother of War"; Eskimos stalking large polar bears near the frigid Arctic Circle; Aztec sacrificial combat held in the capital of their kingdom--all of these actions were experienced by certain groups in different parts of the Americas."

 

All this said, readers who expect battle scenarios may be surprised to find the depth of history presented in these stories, which includes plenty of political background and discussions of intertribal relationships and how these were affected by the arrival of the white man.

 

These nonfiction reader notes accompany each story and add to the tales of tribal encounters and experiences, making this collection of interest far beyond its intended juvenile readership. 

 

Anyone who wants a lively, well-rounded survey of Native American history will find Native American Action Stories a fine pick that doesn't sacrifice historical fact for the sake of action, but combines both in a vivid, memorable series of tales highly recommended for all ages. 

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review 2017-08-15 22:25
Meow…Woof, Woof…Bahhhaah…
Gemina (The Illuminae Files) - Jay Kristoff,Amie Kaufman

Book Title:  Gemina

Author:  Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Series:  Illuminae Files

Genre:  YA, Sci-fy,

Setting:  Heimdall Station

Source:  Both the Hardcover (yes an actual book), and a Kindle eBook (Library)

 

 

 

Add to Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ratings Breakdown

 

Plot:  5/5

Main Characters:  5/5

Secondary Characters:  5/5

The Feels:  5/5

Addictiveness:  5+/5

Theme or Tone:  5/5

Flow (Writing Style):  4/5

Backdrop (World Building):  4.5/5

Originality:  5+/5

Book Cover:  5/5

Ending:  5/5  Cliffhanger:  …a 'to be continued'

Total:  5/5 STARS ✧A+✧

 

 

My Thoughts

 

This series is the cat's meow and dog's bark and the ram's bahhhaah…all that shit and more…It's not going to be for everyone…but damn, it should be.  I think so, anyway.  The format is crazy, and it (for me) may be part of what makes it so good…that, and the amazing and intricate plot.  Nothing is off limits in this series.

 

I read this both from a hardcover book (that my daughter bought me for Christmas) and a Kindle eBook that I borrowed from the library at the same time.  I'm so glad that I did it this way.  Because…the eBook is good for low lighting and when I was at work, seriously though, that book is lug…and the actual lug of a book is perfect for those pages with small, teeny tiny pictures/documents and such on them.  I flipped back and forth between the two constantly.  I also used an Audible credit for the Audiobook of Gemina, which I plan to listen to right before Obsidio comes out in March, 2018.

 

Will I continue this series⇜  Damn Straight!!!

 

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review 2017-08-12 22:39
Book Review of The Amulet: Journey to Sirok (The Elias Chronicles Book 1) by E.G. Kardos
The Amulet: Journey to Sirok (The Elias Chronicles) (Volume 1) - E. G. Kardos

WHEN TWIN SWORDS COLLIDE, an incredible power is unleashed and a new world opens. Defeating the three-headed dragon is the only way for Elias to seize his treasure. THE AMULET- Journey to Sirok is a magical adventure as Elias searches to find a sorcerer named Zoltan to reveal clues to his search.

 

Review 3*

 

This is the first book in an intriguing fantasy series. I enjoyed it but with reservations.

 

Elias is an interesting character. I really liked him. He is a young boy living in a remote village in Hungary. He is the son of a farmer, but he has no interest in being a farmer like his father or two brothers. He is an artist and loves to draw and paint the beautiful scenery and animals living in the forest surrounding the farm. When his Nattymama (Grandmother) tells him the tale of Zoltan, a sorcerer, who lives in Budapest and who can help Elias find his fortune, Elias sets off on a journey to meet him, but faces many obstacles and dangers along the way.

 

This is quintessentially a coming of age tale. When I first started reading this book I struggled with the author's writing style and it took me a while to get into it. Elias is only fifteen (nearly sixteen), so I was surprised at how harshly his father treated him. Just because a child doesn't want to follow in the parent's footsteps, a parent should encourage their child to follow their own path, not throw them out of the house. Unfortunately, it is more common than one would think. Having said that, Elias is a pretty level-headed boy and is able to keep his wits about him even when things look really dire at times. There is also a little folklore woven into the tale, with mention of monsters like the Sarkany, a three-headed serpent dragon that becomes a representation of a person's worst nature.

 

Elias meets several characters (including monsters) along his journey, but I found the majority of them to be one-dimensional and forgettable for the most part. Even the Sarkany didn't seem particularly scary or threatening. This made me feel sad. Nattymama was the only other character that felt lifelike besides Elias. However, I am not in the age range this book is aimed at, so younger readers may not have the same opinion as myself.

 

I reached the end of the story with mixed emotions. I was happy at the way it concluded, but also a little disappointed that the story left me feeling rather ambivalent to it. I don't like saying this but I don't think I will be continuing with the series. Although the character of Elias was interesting, there was not enough character development or excitement generated for me to want to read the next book in the series.

 

E.G. Kardos has written an interesting middle grade/young adult fantasy. The author's writing style felt a little stilted in my opinion, and I struggled to get to grips with it in the beginning. It is not particularly fast paced, however, it kept me turning the pages. The story flowed wonderfully from scene to scene, and is written in such a descriptive way I could picture the tale easily in my minds eye.

 

I highly recommend this book to children aged 10 upwards and to adults who love reading YA/Middle Grade Fantasy. - Lynn Worton

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review 2017-08-12 15:58
Best Character: Daisy the dog cattle-herding-extraordinaire
Berserker - Emmy Laybourne

Book Title:  Berserker

Author:  Emmy Laybourne

Series:  Berserker #1

Genre:  Older YA, Historical, Supernatural, Splash of Romance

Publisher:  Macmillan Children's Publishing Group Feiwel & Friends

Setting:  Norway & Montana

Source: I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

 

 

 

Add to Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Ratings Breakdown

 

Plot:  3.8/5

Main Characters:  3.8/5

Secondary Characters:  4/5

The Feels:  3.5/5

Addictiveness:  3.8/5

Theme or Tone:  3.5/5

Flow (Writing Style):  3.5/5

Backdrop (World Building):  4/5

Originality:  5/5

Book Cover:  5/5

Ending:  3.8/5 Cliffhanger:  Sort of

Total:  3.8/5 STARS

 

 

My Thoughts

 

First off, I freaking love this cover, it's what initially drew me in, and the synopsis had me thinking, wow, that's sounds amazing…Norway mixed with some early American old west…I totally clicked on the READ NOW button on Netgalley.  I'm not at all disappointed that I did, either…overall I really liked Berserker…it's just so different from anything else I've been reading lately, but I do have a few issues. 

 

Berserker is very violent and it doesn't sugarcoat any of it, either.   Plot wise it's a very ambitious undertaking and I'm not sure the Author pulls it off completely.  I would have liked more character development and I wished the romance was a little more developed too.  The ending scenes were a little over-the-top supernaturally, and I didn't fully commit to feeling them.

 

Will I continue this series⇜  I would like too…just to see where it goes from here.  It really could have ended with this book, though.

 

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