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review 2017-10-16 02:52
The Girl in the Tower
The Girl in the Tower - Katherine Arden

Katherine Arden does not disappoint with this second installment of her Winternight Trilogy. It seamlessly continues the story of Vasilisa as she strives to find a place for herself in a world that does not take kindly towards change and independence, despite its desire to forget the unfathomable traditions of the past. While this is a book where the charm of magic and pagan mystery tries to maintain a steadfast hold, it also does not shy away from the very personal issues of identity and belonging, as well as delve into the broader concerns of power, politics and duty.

I think that duty becomes one of the main conflicts within this story, as the characters begin attempting to reconcile their sensibilities and personal wishes with the eventual need to follow through with the tasks and responsibilities they are expected to fulfill. This holds true for both women and men, as the reader witnesses with both Vasya and her brother Sasha, as well as many of the other characters met over the course of the novel. The reader is also presented with the alternative, the individuals who have already had to assume their respective roles, forced to learn to adapt and derive a sense of pleasure from the various situations within their control.

There is a lot of truth presented in this book, and Arden does not attempt to provide simple answers to many of the questions and issues that arise. Magic can only go so far in supporting the natural order of things.

This is truly an excellent work, and I personally can’t wait for the next installment.

Copy provided by NetGalley

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review 2017-09-27 16:23
Jefferson Lies by David Barton
The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You've Always Believed about Thomas Jefferson - David Barton,Glenn Beck

This book was challenging to listen to, and I can't imagine it is any easier on the eyes in its physical format. Although there are some great points made about how modern writers often misinterpret history, the writing style in general was repetitive to the point of being condescending. Even worse, some of the faults Barton (rightly) accuses other authors of, he is just as guilty of himself.

 

People who do not study history think that it is boring and simple. They are not aware of the heated debates that take place over motives and personalities. Thinking history is nothing more than a list of dates, they discount it as insignificant. If this book does nothing else, it disproves this thought regarding history.

 

Was Jefferson an atheist, racist, rapist, *add in the negative term you have heard applied to Jefferson here* - or was he a forward thinking, brilliant Christian man unfortunately limited by the world in which he lived? The answer, of course, would fully satisfy nobody at either extreme because Jefferson, like most everyone else, was a complex man not able to be fully defined by simplistic labels.

 

Barton gets a few things completely right. Modern writers do transpose their own worldviews onto historical figures and try to force them to fit into it. They do look at one written line or one spoken comment and draw drastic conclusions from them. They do try to use historical figures as props to hold up their modern ideas despite the fact that we have no idea how they would truly react to our current situation.

 

Unfortunately, Barton also gets a few things wrong. He tries to paint such an overwhelmingly positive portrait of Jefferson that he dismisses evidence contrary to his ideas just as much as those he speaks against. He states repeatedly that Jefferson was unable to free his slaves through his will due to Virginia law, which is easily disproved in about 30 seconds online. Yes, a law similar to what he describes existed, but it was not as restrictive as he makes it out to be. It was a painful exercise to listen to the author attempt to clear Jefferson's name as a 'racist' while admitting that he owned slaves his entire life.

 

This is the problem with trying to force our modern views upon historical figures. In truth, Jefferson really was forward thinking in his attitudes toward blacks, but he still lived during a time of legalized slavery. He did free some of his slaves, and he did hire free black men for various positions and held them in high esteem....but he also owned slaves. This is a way of thinking that we can't reconcile in our modern mind without trying harder to understand the 18/19th century way of thinking. Anyone calling Jefferson a racist or trying to exonerate him is not really trying to understand who he really was because it's just not that simple.

 

I did appreciate the section of this book explaining more detail about the so-called 'Jefferson Bible' and clarifying Jefferson's attitude toward faith & the church. The fact that freedom of religion has evolved into freedom from religion in the US leads to many misunderstandings of Jefferson's feelings and objectives in this arena.

 

This book unfortunately is not a good source on Jefferson due to the half-truths & exaggerations that are made. Some previous knowledge is required to be aware of where the author is taking liberties with the subject matter.

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review 2017-09-15 23:08
The Jersey Devil by Hunter Shea
The Jersey Devil - Hunter Shea

 

 

I found this a tad predictable, but still with some good horrifying moments. It did have a sort of an 80's horror, campy film feel to it.  Rated 3.5 stars.

 

 

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review 2017-09-08 03:28
Panacea by F. Paul Wilson
Panacea - F. Paul Wilson

A great conspiracy thriller, except for the part where they make Christians the evil ones. That seems to be the thing nowadays, in a lot of books. It's getting old.

 

With this book, I reached my goal of reading 150 books this year, with over 3 months to go! Yay, me!!

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review 2017-09-06 16:37
Giveaway & Review – The Dark Mermaid by Christine L Barr @ninjadustpub @XpressoReads
The Dark Mermaid (Cursed Water) (Volume 1) - Christina L Barr

 

The Dark Mermaid
Christina L. Barr
Publication date: September 5th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

 

MY REVIEW

 

I like mean, vicious mers, but I also like the ones that fall in love with humans. Here, we have both, and because of the title I am curious where Christina L Barr will take me.

 

The Bermuda Triangle and Atlantis. Splash…in a dark way.

 

Her father has six girls, but has chosen her to train as a warrior. She has no idea what his real motivation is. Her father had declared war on all humans. When they attacked the ship and she met her first human, her life was changed forever.

 

Would her father kill her for saving one?

 

Her fathers order…kill him before she turned seventeen or he would kill them both.

 

We meet the Sea Witch, where she learns more about her heritage than she ever learned from her father. And Napa. He is an interesting character, a shapeshifter and I wonder what part he will play.

 

Halfway in and I’m liking it. I am looking forward to what will become of Luna…Ian, her father, her family, and, of course, the Sea Witch. Will she find true love? Will the mers and humans go to war? What side will Luna be on? Who will she have at her side? So many questions.

 

The action is amping up. It’s getting exciting and I can’t help but smile at the turn the story takes. It is not like other mermaid stories. A pooling of all the other mer tales I have read, with a dash of something extra on the side. 

 

The battle between dark and light, good and evil…I am very suspicious, untrusting, some would say paranoid. I believe nothing is at it seems, and I am waiting for the lies, the betrayal.

 

Some parts were lacking detail and I would have liked them fleshed out, developed and drawn out, so I could enjoy them more. They felt a little rushed, glossed over. I wanted  the story to unfold in full detail, slowly, and this would be a WOW. Or maybe it’s just me and I wanted more. (?)

 

Still, The Dark Mermaid by Christina L Barr is one that stands out from the crowd.

The end…and it does end…was great.

 

I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of The Dark Mermaid by Christina L Barr.

 

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos 4 Stars

 

Enter the giveaway and read more here.

 

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