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review 2019-10-19 21:00
Lies Sleeping - Ben Aaronovitch
Lies Sleeping - Ben Aaronovitch

Disclaimer: there's not a lot of vampires in this, but a key element nonetheless. For some reason I'm really bent on sticking to my squares as they are, without transformations. Probably that will change.

 

So we get to see Peter Grant dealing with a very modern problem and I quite liked that. More Folly, more ghosts, more gods, more big bad, but really, don't much care. That last, I mean. I enjoyed it enormously for all the reasons I mentioned re Hanging Tree and I'm almost certain to keep reading as long as Aaronovitch keeps writing them. His cast is growing so huge that he could write easily feature other characters as leads, the way he does in the stories, and that would be fun, too.

 

Library copy

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review 2019-09-20 00:05
The Black Opal - Victoria Holt
The Black Opal - Victoria Holt

The best I can figure is someone went through a random collection of scenes never used for other books because they weren't very good, shuffled them into a chronological order, and then typed it up with consistent names.

 

It's a mess, and none of the aspects rise above thoroughly mediocre: half-hearted Gothic, suspense, romance, travel, adventure, wish-fulfillment, etc. And a really surprising number of bastards or children who were legitimized by marriages between their mothers and people who were not their fathers.

 

Disappointingly, the Black Opal of the title is pure McGuffin, everyone ends up well off in a lovely home, the three possible love interests don't seem to interest the heroine much, and events are too random to even be coincidental. Of all the squares I considered using it for, it didn't really live up to any of them. I'm going with Gothic because it does have recognizable Gothic elements, even if they're not well-developed.

 

Nonetheless, it was an interesting read. It wasn't like the Victoria Holt books I read in the 70s, nor is it at all like contemporary romance or suspense. Although it lacked a real commitment to formula, it was very definitely written by someone who knew what would make an enjoyable read. Consider it a lesser work by a real pro. It certainly didn't put me off Holt: I have a couple more I'm considering.

 

 

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review 2019-09-15 21:21
The Woo-Woo: How I survived ice hockey, demons, drug raids, and my crazy Chinese family - Lindsay Wong
Woo-Woo, The - Lindsay Wong

First: not enough hockey. Or at least, hockey makes a brief and violent appearance (of course!) but then it disappears. I'd have liked to see it mentioned again, if only to update whether it had any appeal of any kind ever again.

 

Second: both weirder and not as weird as I anticipated. The demons turn out to be ghosts but not in the way I'm used to thinking of them. The drug raids are very strange, but serve well as humorous anecdotes: unexpected details really go against stereotypes. 

 

Third: see? my parenting isn't that bad. Actually, maybe it is that bad. Maybe there's a memoir coming about how weird it was to grow up with me.

 

Mostly I think my problem is I kind of expected it to be the stuff of sitcom, you know, zany. It's not zany. It's sad and distressing, which is really not how I had planned to focus my Halloween reading. Although to be fair, I suppose bad parenting really is horrific.   

 

I can't wait to see what the next book is about, though.              

 

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review 2018-11-04 16:39
The Quiet Place - Sarah Stewart, David Small
The Quiet Place - Sarah Stewart,David Small

An antidote to the toxic attitude toward immigrants of color right now. As if people of Northern European descent somehow have a more valid claim to American citizenship than indigenous people of the continent. It's like demanding that the UK remain for Romans only. 

 

Set in 1957 the dresses are spot on an appropriate, and matched with mid-century furnishings, signage, and motor vehicles.

 

Library copy

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text 2016-09-01 18:27
Water Tossing Boulders

Just picked this one up via Amazon Vine.  Can't wait to get into it.

 

 

Water Tossing Boulders: How a Family of Chinese Immigrants Led the First Fight to Desegregate Schools in the Jim Crow South.

 

A generation before Brown v. Board of Education struck down America s separate but equal doctrine, one Chinese family and an eccentric Mississippi lawyer fought for desegregation in one of the greatest legal battles never told.


On September 15, 1924, Martha Lum and her older sister Berda were barred from attending middle school in Rosedale, Mississippi. The girls were Chinese American and considered by the school to be colored; the school was for whites. This event would lead to the first US Supreme Court case to challenge the constitutionality of racial segregation in Southern public schools, thirty years before the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision. In this case confronting the separate but equal doctrine, the Lum family, along with an eccentric Mississippi lawyer, fought for the right to educate Chinese Americans in the white schools of the Jim Crow South.

 

Through extensive research in historical documents and family correspondence, Berard illuminates a vital, hidden chapter of America s past and uncovers the powerful journey of an oppressed people in their struggle for equality."

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