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review 2018-04-20 03:03
Heroes of the Frontier
Heroes of the Frontier - Dave Eggers

This was tough for me. I love Eggers' work, and so much of this is what I would expect from him, but there are parts that just left me irritated, confused, or extremely stressed out for this unprepared, ill-equipped, mother of two, who displays an almost stunning lack of judgment when she takes her children on an inspired but completely unplanned trip to Alaska. The children, of course, are perfectly sweet, beautiful, wise little Yodas, who manage to charm even when they are at their worst.

 

Despite this, I was rooting for Josie. I bookmarked my audio-book and listened to one part several times — describing how we went from 4 parent visits a year at school to 46-hours' worth of recommended involvement (in a month). So, I cheered for Josie, even when she did some super questionable things (did anyone besides Josie not figure out the jumpsuits immediately?). And I almost made it all the way through. With about an hour or so left, Josie composes some music, and the story went from completely unrealistic yet kind of sweet and brave, to you have got to be kidding me. I considered Josie's musical scoring a charming affectation, a cute little character trait, but this was completely bizarre and almost offensive (to all musicians, everywhere, and I am not a musician). It went right off the rails for me after that.

 

There are some awesome, radical, refreshing ideas here about parenting and life, and it would have been so great if the rest of it had measured up to that great promise. Based on some other comments, I am guessing the geography is not well-researched, which seems a shame, and also easily avoidable. Any Eggers fans out there? Curious to know your thoughts.

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review 2018-04-20 01:12
CAST TWO SHADOWS: THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION IN THE SOUTH by Ann Rinaldi
Cast Two Shadows: The American Revolution in the South - Ann Rinaldi

Cast Two Shadows: The American Revolution in the South

Ann Rinaldi

Paperback, 304 pages
Published March 1st 2004 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published October 1st 1998)
ISBN: 0152050779 (ISBN13: 9780152050771) 

 

I was browsing the shelves when I found this book. Usually, an author sticks with the big events of the American Revolution, but Rinaldi sets this book in the south.  Caroline, the main character, is 14 years old and sees how the war has separated her family's loyalty, as well as how it has affected her friends. The British have taken over her family's plantation; her father is thrown in jail for supporting the patriots; the brother is fighting for the British. She sees some horrors on both sides and learns some secrets about herself as well. At some points, the reading is a little dry. Overall, a good book, though, YA readers who like historical fiction.

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review 2018-04-20 00:49
Black River Falls
Black River Falls - Jeff Hirsch

The town has become a place where groups roam trying to get dominance, the one kid who is uninfected and a group of other children who were infected are all hiding up at a camp, to be away from the predatory adults. The government came in to try and help but turned over everything to another group. 

 

This book was assigned to my girls for their book club and at first, it seemed interesting, but as the time went on, I just couldn't get into and stay in the book. 

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review 2018-04-19 12:58
Rainmaker
The Rainmaker - John Grisham

Rudy is a 3rd-year law student and all his plans have gone up in dust. The firm that he signed with has sold and he is no longer going to be employed by them. When he leaves their building he knocks into a bust of the founder and it shatters a window. When he goes to another firm, started by a young, hungry law student years ago, he is promised a job, but when he does all the work on the account he is bringing them, they fire him and then he is accused of starting a fire at their place. After his current employer, a shady bar owner, helps him get with Bruiser, a shady attorney, he now has a job and he gets to keep his account that he brought along with him. The cases that he is so possessive of, are Miss Birdie, an elderly woman who says she has a huge fortune and wants to rewrite her will to write out her family and the Black family, whose son is dying from treatable leukemia. He was refused medical treatment by the insurance company that his mother got for the family and his brother was a perfect match for a bone marrow transplant and yet, the insurance company refused the treatments and refused to pay for any testing he had done claiming that he had pre-existing condition and then calling his mother stupid in a letter. 

 

When it becomes evident that Bruiser is going to be running from the law, he and Declan leave and start their own office, doing all the things they had done before at Bruiser's to pay the bills all the while, working on this one big case. Since this is his only big case, he works it all the time. He fast-tracks the case and as he works the case he finds allies in places he didn't know he had. A law school friend helps him with cases that his company cannot handle and will allow some steady income and allow him to continue to work on this case for the Black family. When Deck and Rudy find that their phones are bugged, they start doing things to see who has bugged them and discover that it was the law firm for the insurance company and they use it to their advantage, pretending that the family wants a settlement or that they tampered with the jury. 

 

It was a really good story and moved quickly, hard to put down, so much so that in order to continue reading while I was driving my girls around, I borrowed the audio version so I could listen while I drove. 

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review 2018-04-18 15:52
Just One Damned Thing After Another / Jodi Taylor
Just One Damned Thing After Another - Jodi Taylor

Behind the seemingly innocuous façade of St Mary's, a different kind of historical research is taking place. They don't do 'time-travel' - they 'investigate major historical events in contemporary time'. Maintaining the appearance of harmless eccentrics is not always within their power - especially given their propensity for causing loud explosions when things get too quiet.

Meet the disaster-magnets of St Mary's Institute of Historical Research as they ricochet around History. Their aim is to observe and document - to try and find the answers to many of History's unanswered questions...and not to die in the process. But one wrong move and History will fight back - to the death. And, as they soon discover - it's not just History they're fighting.

Follow the catastrophe curve from 11th-century London to World War I, and from the Cretaceous Period to the destruction of the Great Library at Alexandria. For wherever Historians go, chaos is sure to follow in their wake....

 

This is the most enjoyable time-travel romp that I’ve ever read! I had great fun following the boisterous and sometimes explosive adventures of Madeleine Maxwell, as she joins the St. Mary’s Institute of Historical Research. The book ends up being something that is hard to categorize, although I’m pretty sure that stores will stick it firmly on the Fantasy shelf. But there is mystery, intrigue, romance—you name the genre.

I am always delighted with fiction that includes dinosaurs, so the time travel to the Cretaceous was absolutely perfect for my tastes. As Miss Maxwell says, “You put dinosaurs and people together, you always get screaming.” Apparently she has seen at least one of the Jurassic Park movies!

I chose this as my time travel selection for my 2018 PopSugar challenge, but I will definitely be continuing on with the series. I love the patchwork of genres, the British sense of humour, and the adventure.

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