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review 2018-09-19 03:16
I'll Give Up
The 17th Suspect - Maxine Paetro,James Patterson

I have no idea why I continue on with this series.  I guess for the same reason I keep watching shows like NCIS and NYPD.

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review 2018-09-16 16:28
Jesse James: Infamous Outlaw of the Old West - in60Learning

My family is related to the James family. My great uncle by marriage was cousins with Jesse James. I have always enjoyed the stories of Jesse James and his gang. This book is not a story. It is the actual history of Jesse James before, during, and after his days as an outlaw. It also gives history or the whole James family.

In60 Learning has done a great job gathering all the information in this book. Larry G Jones narrates the book. I was not all that crazy about his reading. He seemed to pause a lot. It also seemed like maybe he was reading on a child's level.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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review 2018-09-12 00:48
I am Mrs. Jesse James
I Am Mrs. Jesse James - Pat Wahler

Zee Mimms grew up in the Missouri countryside. She is an obedient and helpful daughter to her parents who run a boarding house, dutiful in every way except allowing her parents to arrange a marriage for her. During the Civil War, Missouri was split between neighbors, Confederate and Union sympathizers were neighbors and friends. Zee's family, the James' felt deeply for the Confederate cause and her cousins, Jesse and Frank fought bravely for what they believed in. After the war, Jesse was badly wounded and a wanted man. He made it to the Mimm's where Zee took charge of his care. Over the course of Jesse's healing, Jesee and Zee fell in love. However, the life Jesse leads is not what Zee's parents want for her. Jesee is still fighting battles from the war, always on the run and living the life of an outlaw. Zee decides that love is worth the risk and steals away with Jesse for a life on the run.

Jesse James is a name that everyone knows, a handsome and cunning outlaw who continued to fight for his Confederate beliefs well after the war was over. However, not much is known about his wife, Zerelda. Told from Zerelda's point of view, I Am Mrs. Jesse James imagines the life that the wife of an outlaw would have lived. Taking the few little known facts about Zee Mimm's life, Pat Wahler weaves a story of immense love, trust, danger and concealment that became Zee's adult life. Zee was a very relatable character compared to her headstrong, fugitive husband. I was very surprised that Jesee James married a first cousin, although their love must have been strong in order to endure all the trials that they went through. Zee's life was a series of moves and living under different names, isolated in many cases since she was not allowed to get to know neighbors. I was even more astonished to know that Zee probably didn't know exactly what her husband was up to until later in her life. I felt strongly for Zee and Jesse's children, born into a world of peril and constant movement, unable to make friends of even use their real names. Even with all of this, Zee's love for Jesse kept her strong and unwavering. Overall, an informative and powerful story of the life of the woman behind the man who was Jesse James.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

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review 2018-09-11 10:15
Interesting
Encounters of Sherlock Holmes - George Mann,Mark Hodder,Paul Magrs,James Lovegrove,Eric Brown,Richard Dinnick,David Barnett,Cavan Scott,Mark Wright,Stuart Douglas,Kelly Hale,Mags L. Halliday,Nick Kyme,Steve Lockley

As always with a set of stories this is a mixed bag, but there's a love of the stories of Sherlock Holmes that comes across from all of the stories.  Little details like the Persian Slipper become stories.  There's mashups from other stories (H G Wells War of the Worlds for example) and they often take an interesting twist.

 

None of the stories are terribly memorable or made me want to hunt up more by the authors but none were terrible and would suggest to me to avoid those authors.

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review 2018-09-10 17:15
Pagans / James J. O'Donnell
Pagans: The End of Traditional Religion and the Rise of Christianity - James J. O'Donnell

A provocative and contrarian religious history that charts the rise of Christianity from the point of view of "traditional" religion from the religious scholar and critically acclaimed author of Augustine.

Pagans explores the rise of Christianity from a surprising and unique viewpoint: that of the people who witnessed their ways of life destroyed by what seemed then a powerful religious cult. These “pagans” were actually pious Greeks, Romans, Syrians, and Gauls who observed the traditions of their ancestors. To these devout polytheists, Christians who worshipped only one deity were immoral atheists who believed that a splash of water on the deathbed could erase a lifetime of sin.

 

This was a great history of the late Roman/early Christian time period. It wasn’t quite what I thought I was getting, but it was still very interesting and written in an easy-to-read style. I thought I was going to get more about the pagan religions of the time. Instead, I learned that the whole idea of being pagan, as opposed to being Christian, was a creation of the Christians once they found themselves in the position to be able to form public opinion. As the author puts it, “Outside Christian imaginations, there was no such thing as paganism, only people doing what they were in the habit of doing.” Like those of us now who don’t really espouse a religion, but still celebrate Easter and Christmas.

The main points to know about the traditional, pre-Christian religions? ①Their gods weren’t perfect. ②The gods weren’t very nice. ③The gods didn’t care whether or not human beings did the right thing. ④The gods hadn’t created the world, either. ⑤They could help you, if you were nice to them.

The relationship between gods and humanity was much more businesslike in traditional religions. If you wanted something badly, you made a sacrifice to the god/goddess of your choice and if they liked your offering, you might get some divine help. But there were no guarantees.

If I have learned nothing else from reading this book, I realize now how completely current European and North American societies are shaped by Christianity. It is the underlying assumption of all our societal structures. Even atheism is completely shaped by its reaction against Christianity.


Also, Christianity has changed greatly since its early days, but some things never change. It’s still split into numerous denominations because its followers are prone to outrage at discovering that someone else dares to have a different opinion. That judginess and tendency towards schisms/excommunication started early and continues on to present day.

The author doesn’t talk about Neo-Pagans (except in one footnote), but the Modern Pagan movement, just by using the word ‘pagan,’ is defining itself in relation to Christianity. Christians created the concept of paganism after all. These Modern Pagans are much more self-conscious about their ‘faith’ than the original worshippers of Zeus or Thor were. (The whole concept of having faith in a god being a Christian innovation).

Amusingly, one of the ‘pagan’ concepts that has hung on is the title of “Pontiff” for the Pope. It was originally the title of the Roman official in charge of all religious occasions, regardless of deity, held in Rome under the Emperors.

The author has also written a book on St. Augustine which might also be an interesting read, although there’s a good summary about him in the last half of this book.

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