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Search tags: Meg-Cabot
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review 2020-04-05 23:17
A Consuming Fire
Out of the Embers - Cabot, Amanda

Beginning a new series always evokes a special joy, and as nice as it is when all of the books have been published and can be read back-to-back, there is a certain thrill that comes with following each book as it first releases. This feeling is augmented when the author is new, either to the writing world itself or to the individual reader. Such proved to be the case with “Out of the Embers” by Amanda Cabot, whose work I have hitherto not had the opportunity to read. What immediately appealed to me, even before knowing any details about the synopsis, was the cover. The young woman (Evelyn) stands with her head to the left, facing a light breeze and gazing into the distance with both hope and a degree of wariness. Below a title banner made of a wooden plank, a dirt road stretches on through fields of bluebonnets. As I read, the significance and aptness became clear.

A captivating mixture of genres, “Out of the Embers” offers a tenderhearted, tragic, mysterious journey through the lives of Evelyn Radcliffe (later Radner when she changes her name) and Polly, the little girl she has vowed to keep safe. I did not read the plot summary prior to picking up this book, and this enhanced the reading experience for me because I did not expect the pivotal event at the beginning of the novel. Throughout the story, Cabot interjects a few chapters that interrupt the flow of the narrative; their significance does not become fully apparent until the final chapters, but they add to the aura of mystery. As for the romance, it is tender and gradual and does not overwhelm the other aspects of the story, which I appreciated, and the secondary characters are likewise well-developed. Dorothy and Isolde, in particular, blossomed in this book, and I am interested in seeing what the future has in store for Sam and especially for Caleb, the latter of whom seems to have faded into the background by the last third of the novel. I love Cabot’s resolution of Evelyn’s story, and I find it particularly fitting for Easter, although its significance never goes out of season.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.

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review 2020-03-27 23:10
An enduring biography of an important senator
Henry Cabot Lodge: A Biography - John A. Garraty

From Daniel Webster to Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts has a storied tradition of electing United States senators who enjoy an outsized presence on the national stage. One of the most prominent among this group is Henry Cabot Lodge, the Boston Brahmin who over the course of his three decades in the Senate exercised a profound and enduring influence on both national and international events. Drawing upon Lodge’s personal papers and the records left by his contemporaries, John A. Garraty pushes past the stereotypes and misconceptions surrounding Lodge to better understand the man and his legacy as a politician.

 

Garraty begins his book by recounting Lodge’s early years. The son of a prominent upper-class family, he enjoyed a privileged childhood and an elite education in which he earned both a legal degree and a Ph.D in history and government. Though initially an academic, he soon gravitated towards public office and was a rising star in Massachusetts politics in the 1870s and 1880s. These were formative years for the budding politician, during which time Lodge took up the cause of civil service reform and campaigned against the corruption of the Grant administration. Yet by the early 1880s Lodge had abandoned his flirtation with party heterodoxy and became a committed party man, a stance he would maintain for the rest of his long political career.

 

Lodge enjoyed a rapid ascent in politics due to his wealth and his social connections, winning a seat in the House of Representatives in 1886 that he would hold until his election to the Senate in 1892. His ascent in Congress coincided with the growing importance of foreign affairs in national politics, a subject dear to Lodge. An advocate of both a stronger navy and intervention in Cuba, he emerged as a leading supporter of American expansion abroad, a stance he shared with his good friend Theodore Roosevelt. Their relationship receives considerable attention throughout Garraty’s book, as he shows how the two men personally remained close even after Roosevelt’s bolt from the Republican Party in 1912 put them at political odds with one another.

 

Yet the attention Garraty gives to Lodge’s friendship with Roosevelt pales before that of the space devoted to Lodge’s clashes with Woodrow Wilson. These chapters take up nearly a quarter of the book, describing an epic political confrontation between the two men colored by a high degree of personal hostility. This conflict culminated in an epic fight over the Versailles Treaty and the League of Nations, the legislative battle over which Garraty recounts in considerable detail. Here he demonstrates that the outcome was not a foregone conclusion, and was decided as much by the personal qualities of the men involved as much as they were the broader issues at stake. Though Lodge emerged the victor in the sense that the treaty to which he objected failed to win ratification, it proved the climax of his career, as his influence faded with the return of the Republicans to the White House just three years before his death in 1924.

 

Ever since it was first published in 1953 Garraty’s book had stood as the definitive biography of Lodge, and it’s difficult to imagine how it could be bettered. The author’s coverage of Lodge’s career is thorough in its scope and penetrating in its analysis, pushing through his subject’s justifications and dissembling to provide an understanding of Lodge that is both critical and fair. Though some aspects of Lodge's career could have been explored in greater detail (such as his views of Roosevelt’s domestic policies as president), it remains the best biography available about Lodge, one that endures thanks to Garraty’s solid scholarship and his perceptive assessments of his subject.

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text 2020-03-26 03:28
Reading progress update: I've read 78 out of 433 pages.
Henry Cabot Lodge: A Biography - John A. Garraty

I am enjoying this biography immensely. It's a marked contrast from Morison's book, with clear prose offering sound observations well supported by Garraty's research. And his analysis of why the pro-reform Lodge supported James G. Blaine after Blaine won the Republican Party's presidential nomination in 1884 despite his unsavory past is one that I found especially relevant to our current political situation:

Thus Henry Cabot Lodge stood on the bring of his personal Rubicon. To his mind Blaine represented all that was evil in politics. Not only was his personal morality suspect but he was also an unspoken foe of reform. . . But these considerations only made his choice uncomfortablehe had made up his mind in advance, and now he had to face the inevitable. "Blaine is obnoxious to our people," he admitted to a reporter while the convention was breaking up, "but I shall give him my support."

I imagine there was more than a few Republicans in 2016 who like Lodge put the party (and their careers) ahead of what they thought was right. Lodge, of course, was spared the larger consequences of his support thanks to Grover Cleveland's victory, so in that sense he was more fortunate than his successors and the political death-spiral they find themselves in today.

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review 2020-03-19 16:41
No Judgments
No Judgments - Meg Cabot
 
Little Bridge Island, Book 1

I Picked Up This Book Because: I’m a fan of the author’s previous works.

The Characters:

Sabrina “Bree” Beckham:
Drew Hartwell:
Other residents of Little Bridge Island

The Story:

I’ve been uninspired to write reviews lately, I’m sure future me will regret it but that’s the way it is. It’s not a reflection on the book. I liked the book.

The Random Thoughts:



The Score Card:

description

4 Stars
 
 
 
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review 2020-01-06 22:14
No Judgments by Meg Cabot
No Judgments - Meg Cabot

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

After devastating events start to pile on one after the other, Bree decides to escape to Little Bridge Island, where she spent her cherished childhood vacations. She dyes her hair pink and is working on finding herself again but a potential hurricane is trying to disrupt her calm.
Fending off her mother and ex-boyfriend begging her to leave the island, Bree decides to stick it out with some locals, one who is rumored to be the local playboy. Drew's sexy looks have caught her attention before but he seems like trouble she doesn't need.
The storm and fate seem to be throwing them together as Bree gets to know him more, she's starting to want to break her no dating rule.

I had purposefully come to this island to be alone and figure out my next move. None of that had included becoming attracted to darkly handsome brooding men who were kind to dogs.

Told only from Bree's point of view, No Judgments spends a lot of time in her head. Bree thinks about how her father's death, learning the woman she calls mom is not her biological mother, and hints at a traumatic experience that involved her ex-boyfriend's friend for the majority of the first half to let readers in on plot points and reasons for Bree's character make-up. These big issues are all thought about by Bree in her head and never fully get to be flushed out as the outer issue of the hurricane getting ready to hit the island takes up most of the action part of the story.

There was some build up to the hurricane, Bree doesn't want to leave because her rescue cat Gary has health issues and she wants people to think of her as a local and not a “Fresh Water”, but the actual event of the hurricane only lasts a night and Bree basically sleeps through it. The aftermath talks about potential health hazards, lack of resources and looters, but the reader never really feels this as Bree gallivants around the island. At the midpoint in the story, Bree and Drew still had a little bit of animosity to their relationship (and one quick make-out session), due to preconceived notions about each other but Bree decides to risk life and limb to go out and see if he survived the hurricane; her emotions seemed to strongly come out of nowhere.

The second half switches to Bree and Drew trying to rescue, feed, and water animals who's owners abandoned them with the hurricane coming in and now can't get back because of a bridge washed out. Around the 60% mark is where I finally thought I could see some emotional and relationship development between the two.

I’d broken all the rules, and now I was sitting here, like an idiot, by the light of the Milky Way, eating the guy’s steaks with his happy, well-fed dogs pressed all around me, listening to him talk. God. I had it bad.

With the story being told in Bree's point of view, readers get to know her pretty well but Drew's character could have had more filling out. He seemed likable, a laid back island guy who loved dogs, but I never knew him and he felt like almost an after thought for being the main partner in a romance. This had some heavier issues, death, infertility, and sexual assault sprinkled in but they were never fully fleshed out and the tone of the story colored them with a bit too much of a cavalier vibe. Honestly, if someone asked me what this story was about, I'd say the message was “Don't judge people for leaving their animals in a hurricane”, which can be a good message but feels odd for a romance/contemporary fiction.

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