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review 2018-03-28 22:17
A pedestrian pastiche of a steampunk mystery
Affinity Bridge - George Mann

Fog-enshrouded Victorian London is hardly a safe city in this steampunk thriller.  A “revenant plague” runs rampant through the East End, turning the infected into decaying cannibals.  A mysterious glowing policeman is strangling people to death.  And an airship carrying fifty passengers crashes, yet the clockwork automaton piloting it has vanished without a trace.  To solve these crimes Scotland Yard turns to Sir Maurice Newberry, anthropologist turned Crown investigator.  With the aid of his assistant Veronica Hobbes he apples his intellect (and the occasional fist) towards untangling these mysteries and defeating the Empire’s enemies.


George Mann’s novel is a mystery that evokes the atmospherics of a familiar setting refreshed by its steampunk elements.  Yet the book is hampered by pedestrian writing that turns it into little more than a pastiche of familiar elements.  The plot itself is primarily a rush of events, with character development implied rather than undertaken.  The main protagonist comes across as a pale imitation of Sherlock Homes (must every Victorian detective be an opium addict?), while his relationship with his assistant seems to be little more than a Victorian derivative of the Mulder-Scully dynamic.  It all makes for a book that, while an entertaining read, is not one that has much to distinguish it beyond the many other works in the field.

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review 2018-03-28 16:30
Why starving our way to health doesn’t work
Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea - Mark Blyth

This is very much a book of the moment, though this is partly a matter of luck. While Mark Blyth’s book was written in response to the emergence of austerity policies in 2010, its publication was nicely timed with the contemporaneous undermining of the key study by Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff which was used to make the case for the necessity of austerity. Though Blyth’s book was written before the revelation of the study’s flaws, his more broader focus on the origins and development of austerity is no less powerful and damming.


Blyth’s book can be broken down into three parts. The first is an explanation of the recent debt crisis that has plagued the global economy. Here Blyth demonstrates that, contrary to much of the political rhetoric, this did not originate as a sovereign debt crisis but as a private debt crisis in the banking sector, one that became a sovereign debt crisis in a “bait and switch” as European states (and their taxpayers) absorbed the costs of fixing the problems created by the profligate and unwise lending policies of several European banks. Blyth then turns his attention to the history of the idea of austerity, which he sees as born out of a set of assumptions in classical economic theory that remained overly simplistic and underdeveloped. He concludes the book with an examination of the application of austerity as policy in recent history, showing how the examples of the past offer clear demonstration of its failure of austerity as a solution to economic crisis – and often end up making the problems worse rather than better.


All of this makes for a convincing argument against austerity as a response to economic downturns. Its effectiveness is aided by Blyth’s ability to walk the reader through the recent crises and untangle the underlying causes. While his use of economic jargon can make some of his arguments difficult to follow, overall he provides a clear and direct explanation of economic events. The result is a book that should be read by anyone seeking a better understanding not just of the concept of austerity and its misuse, but of the broader economic crisis we face and what brought us to this point.

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review 2018-03-28 14:34
The culmination of TR's life
Colonel Roosevelt - Edmund Morris

The publication in 1979 of Edmund Morris’s The Rise fo Theodore Roosevelt  heralded the start of a monumental multi-volume study of our nation’s 26th president.  Though sidetracked for a number of years by his assignment as Ronald Reagan’s official biographer, Morris finally released his second volume, Theodore Rex, in 2001, which chronicled Roosevelt’s life during his years in the White House.  This book, which recount’s Roosevelt’s post-presidential years, provides a long-awaited completion to Morris’s project.  It bears all of the strengths and weaknesses of Morris’s approach to his project, now on display in a chronicle of an eventful decade in an already active life.


Morris begins with his subject (whose insistence on being referred to post-presidency as “Colonel Roosevelt” provides the inspiration for the book’s title) on safari in Africa, the first leg of a year-long voyage abroad.  Designed to give his handpicked successor, William Howard Taft, an opportunity to flourish outside of his long shadow, Roosevelt’s trip continued with a triumphal tour of Europe, one that the author recounts in meticulous detail.  Returning to universal acclaim, he also confronted a divisive political scene, with the dominant Republican Party torn by increasingly acrimonious infighting between its progressive and conservative wings. After an initial silence, Roosevelt joined the fray, campaigning for a number of progressive Republicans in the 1910 midterm elections.  Morris sees the defeat of these candidates as the first blow to his public standing, weakening him at a time when he faced growing calls from Progressives to challenge Taft for the 1912 Republican presidential nomination.


Increasingly disillusioned with his former colleague, Roosevelt entered the race in February 1912.  Morris’s description of his primary battle against Taft is one of the high points of this book, capturing all of the drama of a former president taking on his party’s leadership. Though Roosevelt was the clear choice of the voters, the limited use of presidential primaries at the time and Taft’s control of party patronage ensured Roosevelt’s defeat at the national convention that June.  Undaunted, Roosevelt bolted from the GOP and campaigned for the White House under the banner of the newly-founded Progressive Party.  Morris eschews any analysis of the campaign in favor of a narrative that describes his travels across America, which ended with a dramatic assassination attempt by “a weedy little man” who claimed to have been urged to do so by the ghost of William McKinley.  Despite the surge of sympathy the attempt generated, Roosevelt fell short in his effort, losing in November.


Financially weakened, Roosevelt turned to his pen and took to the road once more.  After a journey to Arizona with his sons Archie and Quentin, Roosevelt embarked on what he viewed as his last great adventure – an expedition into the jungles of the Amazon.  His journey proved difficult and physically demanding, with personality conflicts, a leg injury, and a recurrence of malaria taking its toll on the former president.  Roosevelt’s return coincided with the outbreak of war in Europe, leaving him chafing with inactivity as Woodrow Wilson first kept America out of war, then left the former president on the sidelines as he led the nation into it.  By its end, Roosevelt nursed both the pain of losing his youngest son and an increasing range of physical ailments, a cumulative effect of decades of strenuous activity that left him dead at the age of 60 in 1919.


Morris recounts Roosevelt’s life in vivid, occasionally even florid prose.  He is a master of presenting the rich drama of Roosevelt’s adventures, an easy enough task given the material he had to work with but well done nevertheless.  Yet like his earlier volumes, this descriptive account comes with little in the way of context or analysis.  There is little here to explain Roosevelt’s broader impact on progressivism, his contributions of his journeys to natural history, or the importance of his participation in the preparedness movement.  While this diminishes the utility of Morris’s work as a study of Roosevelt’s contribution to American history, it does not detract from the overall enjoyability of Morris’s entertaining, masterful account.  Combined with his earlier volumes, it is likely to serve as the standard by which Roosevelt biographies are judged for decades to come.

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review 2018-02-13 02:43
I Love Rhysand what a Freaking badass!!!!!!
A Court of Wings and Ruin - Sarah J. Maas

Really Loved this one so much, started it Sunday morning and finished it by Sunday night.

In the other review that I just did, I didn't mention how much I freaking loved Cassian, Nesta, AZ, Elain, and jusr all of Rhys's court. I also started to like Lucien a lot more, since he wasn't around Tamlin in this one. I am confused on whom I want Elain with, I am leaning more towards AZ, I just love Az and I don't think he gets the love that I feel he deserves. At first I thought that Az and Morrigan had a thing going, but since they don't, I just feel that Az will be more gentle with Elain, and I loved how he treats her in scenes they were together in. But to be fair Lucien didn't have much scene time with her. So maybe as the new series comes out and they get more time together, that could change and I will want Lucien with her, who knows.

Another character that was very intriguing and I wasn't sure about at first was Amren. I love what she was and what happened to her in the end. A very interesting turn of events. I really love the different courts we got to visit and how each court's differs from the other ones.

Tamlin I am still not really sure about, I don't know if I still can't stand him, but I know. I don't forgive him for all the crap that he put Feyre thought. But I hope we get to see more of him, and I wonder if there will be a story for him. I just don't know if I will ever read that story, but who knows.

Now my gosh do I love Rhys and Feyre so freaking much, they definitely belong with one another. I just think they flit perfectly together. I love that even when they were apart they weren't really. I can't believe how powerful Rhys was, but I guess I should have had some idea, but wow what he did to Tamlin after Tamlin did what he did, I was speechless, and then I was saying you go Rhys. And Feyre she just was a Freaking badass in this book. I love when something happened to one of her love ones, and what she did was just awesome. Of course she still did make a lot of stupid mistakes, but a lot of characters in order books as well as this book, have done stupid things as well.

The ending and what I first thought happened, made me so freaking sad, until I found out that it really didn't happen. 

Things I didn't like about the book were really not big things that would make me lower my rating, like for example it was slow at times, and I wish the battle lasted longer. And that there were more excitement at times. I also need to mention the girls father, I was glad that  he was at least in the book for a tiny bit, and that he played apart in the battle.

I can't wait for the next book, which I have already preordered. I really want to know what happened after the ending of this book, and who is going to be the main characters in the next series.


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review 2018-02-13 00:10
WoW what a book.
A Court of Mist and Fury - Sarah J. Maas

This weekend I finished both this book and the last one in the series, and what a hell of a ride it was. Will start with the review of this one, and then I will make another post on the last back.

In the first book I wasn't sure why readers didn't like Tamlim, because at first I thought they were so cute together. But after I finished reading it at looked back on their relationship, there were signs that things were going to happen to their relationship and that Tamlin was going to be the person to cause the conflict. 

Now Rhys I knew from his and Feyre's first meet that something was going to take place between those two at a certain point. I always liked Rhys from the beginning, sure his was a really ass around her most of the time but those two when they were around one another still has amazing chemistry between them.

Now let's talk about this book, can I say I really hated Tamlin in this book, what he did to Feyre was just so freaking wrong and I am sorry but what he did to her just made me wish I could go into the book and knock some sense into him. I just don't understand why he thought what he did wasn't a bad thing to do to her or anyone for the matter. And when she was freed from that awful situation, I just wanted to give Rhys a really big hug, I would say kids but Feyre would kick my ass. 

You could see the big difference between Tamlin's court and Rhys's court in the way they treat there people. I have to also mention that I love how Rhys got Feyre to start to read, oh boy those two just cracked me up. 

I loved that Rhys wasn't trying to hold Feyre back, and how he didn't treat her like glass, and that she would break.. Tamlin I know he had an awful life but so did Rhys.

Feyre in the first book I wasn't sure about, I didn't know if I liked her or not. But boy did she kick some ass in this book. When she found out the secret Rhys was keeping from her I understand kind of why she was upset. But come on, would she have been able too handle that information at the time? No of course not, she was in love or though she was in love with Tamlin. I love that scene where they see one another after she left, and the whole scene between Feyre and Rhys.

The ending wow was that cray, cray, and what we thought happened and what was revealed by that certain individual was just freaking awesome!!!!! And what happened to Feyre's sisters was also crazy. Just loved this book so much. 

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