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review 2018-04-20 17:01
Curious George Builds a Tree House (CGTV... Curious George Builds a Tree House (CGTV Reader) - H. A. Rey

For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

A cute enough story.

Growing up, I never liked Curious George. It always bugged me that George does naughty things (usually unknowingly), but then never gets in trouble (or worse yet, is rewarded). At least use the situation as a teaching moment. No wonder George is always messing things up. Nobody bothers to teach him why he should or shouldn't do anything. Clearly, I was a very mature child.

Anyway, this book was okay. I haven't watched the show, but I'm assuming this comes straight from it. Following the old-school arch of the original George books, George messes up two of his neighbors projects, because they are vague in their speak, then they forgive him (even though he doesn't apologize or thank them in any way) and don't bother to teach him what they meant, once again rewarding George in his behavior.

Side note: what is George? They always call him "little monkey", but he has no tail and the only monkey that doesn't have a tail is the Barbary Macaque, which George looks nothing like. I'm pretty sure he's supposed to be a chimpanzee, which is an ape. Small thing, but it's still annoying we are teaching children that monkeys and apes are the same animals. Clearly, I am overly critical of children's books, but whatever. 

I did like the learning section at the end with suggested building activities. A fun way for kids to learn about building and construction.

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review 2018-04-17 01:42
William Miller and the Rise of Adventism
William Miller and the Rise of Adventism - George R. Knight

The Great Disappointment in October 1844 appeared to have brought the end of Millerism and Adventism; however it proved to be just the end of the movement’s initial rise.  William Miller and the Rise of Adventism by George R. Knight follows the life of William Miller and then the development of the movement that sprang up from his preaching of the imminent Second Coming of Jesus in ‘about the year 1843’, including the men who helped shape the movement with him and then influenced the believers after October 22, 1844.


Knight begins the history by placing the Christian theological background that influenced the rise of Biblical prophetic study as well as revivalism, including showing that Millerism was the last gasp of the Second Great Awakening.  He then delves into the life of William Miller, the events of which would later influence his abandonment and later rediscovery of his Christian belief before his studies brought him to his monumental belief that Jesus’ Second Coming would occur ‘about 1843’.  While Miller’s message was engaging from the start, his preaching was only in rural New York and Vermont until chance brought him in connection with younger men who found the truth of his words but knew how to use the day’s modern methods to spread it farther than Miller ever knew possible.  Knight relates the growth of the movement among believers in numerous denominations which later leads to a reaction from those same denominations as well as the Millerite leaders attempt to keep down fanaticism amongst believers.  The meat of the book covers the “Year of the End” from March 1843 to October 1844 with all the internal and external tension that occurred during that time as the expectation of Jesus return was a daily hope until the date of October 22 was accepted.  The final section of the book relates the histories of the Millerites that kept their Adventist hope after the Great Disappointment.


Given the subject matter and Knight being the most prominent Seventh-day Adventist historian today, one could have expected prominence of the founders of the Seventh-day Adventist church.  However, save for Joseph Bates who was a prominent Millerite in his own right, the future Seventh-day Adventists are kept until the last two chapters of the book.  If anything this was a story of the Millerites and Adventists who didn’t become Seventh-day Adventists, which is important for both those within and without the SDA denomination to learn about and especially for the former to learn lessons from history.  For the general Church history reader, this book reveals the last big gasp of the Second Great Awakening that occurred in the United States as well as the ramifications of it over the past 170+ years.


I had expected this book to be a pure biography of William Miller; however the history of the movement named after him turned out to be a far better surprise.  William Miller and the Rise of Adventism is for numerous audiences for those interested in Adventist history, American religious history, Christian history, and many more.  While George R. Knight is a prominent Seventh-day Adventist historian, his scholarly approach gives the reader a full, unbiased picture of this time.

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review 2018-04-16 03:59
If you like Lisbeth Salander, you will like this.
The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye - George Goulding,David Lagercrantz

The Girl Who Takes an Eye For an Eye, Paul Lagercrantz, author; Simon Vance, narrator

If you liked the Lisbeth Salander Millenium series, you will love this one. Although there are periods when the reader will definitely have to suspend disbelief, it is still an exciting page turner.

Lisbeth Salander is in trouble again. She is in prison for a crime most people think she should have been rewarded for, not punished, but she refused to help her own case in court and was found guilty. While in prison, her life was threatened so she was transferred to a maximum security prison known for its discipline, supposedly for her own safety. When she arrived there, she discovered that it was not as well controlled as its reputation and being safe there was an implausible option. Because of corrupt prison officials and threats made by a nefarious prisoner, the place had become the victim and plaything of this woman who called herself Benito. Well connected inside and outside the prison, she was running her own little organization within its walls. Lisbeth ignored her threats and took it upon herself to protect another prisoner from her brutality, making herself an enemy of Benito. This other prisoner’s name was Faria. She was the victim of Islamic extremism on the outside, and Benito was tormenting her on the inside. Her family believed she had dishonored them, and as a result, she was paying a high price for their behavior and her own. In Salander’s own inimitable fashion, she blackmailed the warden into helping her to stop Benito’s reign of terror, and in turn, it would also protect Faria. This, she convinced him, would help them both, as she forced him to also allow her access to his computer.

Then uncharacteristically, Salander engaged the help of Mikael Blomkvist. He was eager to come to her aid and when he discovered her guardian, literally on his deathbed, he became deeply involved in the circumstances surrounding his murder. His investigation led to the discovery of a long-term, unethical, clandestine experiment that had been conducted on twins, both identical and fraternal. They were separated and placed in foster homes or adopted out to homes that were opposite in all ways to see the effect the environment would have on the siblings. The cruelty of the scientific study was exposed and those behind it were ferreted out. Salander discovered that she had been part of it and sought to expose the group.

Although at times it was confusing as the time line jumped around and the themes went off on tangents, some which stretched the imagination a bit too far, it was an exciting read that will hold the attention of anyone who enjoys this series.

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review 2018-04-10 10:56
Nightflyers - George R.R. Martin
Nightflyers - George R.R. Martin
Nightflyers contains six classic Science Fiction stories, from short story to novella-length. Most of them have a horror-bend. All of them are charmingly „soft“ Science Fiction, sometimes to the extend of reading more like fantasy. That's not meant as criticism; I prefer this kind of SF to any allusions to „hard“ science, especially if „hard“ science is limited to physics and math (I'm on board with biology, though). GRRM is less interested in hard, cold science, and concentrates more on exploring very human – and humane – questions. The stories are noticeable products of their time, the 1970s: people are almost obsessed with sex, but while women are allowed to experiment, all men are straight; everyone is very, very binary. It's just to be expected. Nevertheless, I found these stories delightful. For me, they also worked as a gentle reminder that we keep telling the same stories over and over again, sometimes dressed as myths, sometimes routed in reality, sometimes spiced with hard science: stories about love, horror, pain, connection. GRRM's stories have all of this in spades.
Nightflyers - ***
A ragtag crew of „academicians“ charter a spaceship to go looking for the volcryn, an elusive alien race, subject of many interstellar myths. But something's fishy on board the Nightflyer. The spaceship's captain refuses to show himself, the group's telepath senses a threat, and soon people start dying. --- It's a classic horror story, a haunted-house story in space. Maybe a bit too classic today. While certainly interesting, gory, and at times spooky, the story didn't really grip me. In fact I think it's the weakest offering of the bunch.
Override - ****
Why should the dead be rotting in graves? What an awful waste of resource. Dead Men are cheap work-force, and one that rarely complain. They're also a bit spooky, so it's no wonder that corpse-handlers, the people working the Dead Men, are not all that well regarded by some. So, when you go digging for gems with your Dead Men, better go prepared. --- I liked how GRRM developed the main character in this story and his scenery descriptions are a joy to read. Grotto really seems like a beautiful planet, living up to its name.
A Weekend at the War Zone - ***/*
When there a no wars left to fight, boys go play war games. --- It's exactly as ugly and predictable as it sounds. But predictable little pacifist that I am, I liked it nonetheless. Martin tells the story in a strong voice that feels all too real.
And Seven Times Never Kill a Man - ****
A trader gets caught in a war between the Steel Angels and the defenseless Jaenshi. The Steel Angels trust in the blade, the Jaenshi trust in their gods. --- A weird and oddly compelling story.
Nor the Many-Colored Fires of a Star Ring - ****
The human mind is not equipped to understand nothingness. When faced with the absolute absence of everything, it can only react with fear. And what do you do when you're afraid? What do you do to cast out the demons? Well, how about making an awful lot of noise? --- I loved this one.
A Song for Lya - *****
Well, this is such a story as can only be written by a Western man. Giving up our little individual lives for a communion of joy, the joined bliss of non-existence, is just too fucking scary for us, isn't it? We crave it, and it scares us shitless. --- A variation of a story I've read before, A Song for Lya is the most competent version of this particular theme I've found so far. It goes straight to the core, and it leaves you bleeding. It's visceral, and utterly sentimental, and oh so very human, and I liked it.


The inevitable soundtrack: Editors - Nothingness.


And now I really have to read something thematically different. And change the record, change the tune...

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quote 2018-04-10 10:48
"Dino taught me never to cry. He said tears never solve anything."
A sad philosophy. Tears don't solve anything, maybe, but they're part of being human.
Nightflyers - George R.R. Martin

George R.R. Martin, A Song for Lya

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