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review 2018-06-21 19:01
Out Now
The War on Neighborhoods: Policing, Prision,and Punishment in a Divided City - Daniel Cooper,Ryan Lugalia-Hollon
Disclaimer: Won on Librarything

One of the common fallacies you see when the topic of police shootings of unarmed African-Americans is someone saying, “well, no one ever talks about black on black shootings”. There are more than a few things wrong with such a statement. Let’s mention two. The first is that no one talks about white on white crime or, to be more exact, as many critics have pointed out, no one talks about crime rates among whites that way. The second is that such a statement doesn’t really negate the question of institutionalism racism.

I have read this book after reading Stamped from the Beginning and the Color of Law, two books that deal with racism and how laws were used to legally allow for racism. Lugalia-Hollon and Cooper look at the current effects of such policies. In other words, they tie everything together – the racism of the justice system, the effect of racist housing policies, the rise of the suburbs, and the defunding of the schools as well as community safe havens.

War on Neighborhood focuses on one city, Chicago, and one section of that city, Austin; yet the authors do not hesitate to make larger connections to governmental policies as well as to mention how other cities in the US face similar problems.

The thesis of the book is that the problems that certain areas have (i.e. the inner city, poorer areas) are a result of policies designed to stop crime as well as politicians who not so much don’t care but don’t try anything new. It isn’t simply ending a drug epidemic, it is ending a cycle that is built on racism and classism. It is about empowering communities as opposed to governments.

The book is divided into chapters, many of which take an aspect of the problem and dissect it. I saw most because there is a conclusion and an introduction. Of particular interest is how inner-city areas, like Austin in Chicago, can be a source of revenue for outlaying towns by “providing” inmates for the prisons in those towns. One must wonder if racism in pre-dominantly white town a product of the prison is also. The authors show us that what effects one small area can have a huge ripple effect.

If you are interested in the saving of cities, in the war on drugs, and violence in neighborhoods, then you need to read this book before we have a conversation. It should be required reading for anyone getting involved in community outreach or politics.
 
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review 2018-06-21 02:54
OK Book and Characters
Highland Dragon Master - Isabel Cooper

Highland Dragon Erik MacAlasdair is on a mission to uncover an ancient artifact. Along the way, he runs into Toinette, a female dragon from his youth. Once she accepts his commission, they end up stranded on an island together that they must escape.

This was more of a historical horror/romance rather than a romance set in historical times. The plot wasn’t set around the romance at all. Rather, the romance was a minor piece to the overall story.

**I voluntarily read and reviewed this book

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review 2018-06-21 02:49
OK Book and Characters
Highland Dragon Rebel (Dawn of the Highland Dragon) - Isabel Cooper

Madoc of Avandos is on a journey to cement alliances. Targeted by an assassin, he needs a companion who can fight. When dragon shifter Moiread MacAlasdair returns from war, he knows she's the best woman for the job. Duty and political strength compel Moiread to agree, but when they cross into the otherworld and Madoc's life is threatened, Moiread jumps into protection mode-and will do whatever it takes to keep the man of her dreams alive.

This story was decent enough. We follow Mioread on an adventure, but it was slow at times for me. It tended to be a little confusing at other times.

**I voluntarily read and reviewed this book

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review 2018-06-21 02:45
OK Book and Characters
Highland Dragon Warrior (Dawn of the Highland Dragon) - Isabel Cooper

The war may be over, but so long as English magic controls the Highlands, not even a dragon laird can keep his clan safe. What Cathal MacAlasdair needs is a warrior fierce enough to risk everything, yet gifted enough to outwit an enemy more monster than man.

This was a decent enough book. However, the author overdid it with the details and brought the book down a bit for me, causing me to skim some parts. The characters themselves were well-written. Overall, not bad.

**I voluntarily read and reviewed this book

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review 2018-06-13 01:20
Dark Harvest by Chris Patchell
Dark Harvest (A Holt Foundation Story) (Volume 2) - Chris Patchell,Mark Cooper,Monica Haynes

Note: Dark Harvest is Book 2 in the series and works best if read after Book 1 simply because you get so much character development that carries over from one book to the next.

I really liked that Brooke, who suffered a brutal kidnapping in Book 1, isn’t all sunshine and roses. She is still walking the hard, dark path to recovery. Marissa, her mom, struggles with how best to help her but she’s doing her best. Brooke’s younger sister, Kelley, puts in a few appearances but we see far less of her than in Book 1 and I missed her. Seth continues to be my favorite character. He’s doing his best to navigate these choppy waters with Marissa and her family, along with his work and memories of his dead wife.

Marissa was hard to root for in this book. She’s really self-centered and I think the author intended for us to see that. However, I don’t see Marissa becoming aware of her flaw and then taking action to better herself. She’s really wrapped up on Seth. He wants to give them all a bit of space to allow Brooke the time to heal and Marissa the time and energy to help Brooke. However, Marissa takes this as rejection. Ugh! Why, Marissa? Why? I wanted to give her a little reality check. I can see why she has a long history of failed relationships.

I also have to mention Marissa in one more thing. This is a MINOR SPOILER. Marissa has failed to take her birth control pill religiously and guess what happens? Yep. This really pissed me off about Marissa. She’s a career woman in her 30s who has basically raised her daughters on her own after becoming unexpectedly pregnant at 16. She’s been down this road before and apparently didn’t learn her lesson. The pill doesn’t work 100% of the time but when you negligently forget to take the pill daily, you’re borrowing trouble.

OK, so let’s talk about the mystery because that’s what really kept me in this book. Someone has been targeting pregnant women but no bodies have turned up. Pretty early on we get to know something about the kidnappers so the majority of the book is a cat and mouse game between the cops and the Holt Foundation and the bad guys. The motivations of the kidnappers were layered and deeper than I initially expected. I really liked that about this mystery. Tori, oh Tori! I wanted things to come out better for you even as I knew you had to pay for what you did. Xander Wilcox, I wonder if you were always so arrogant? Definitely interesting ‘bad guys’.

Seth struggles on several levels in this book. Henry, the computer genius at the Holt Foundation, doesn’t mind breaking laws to get data (phone records, arrest records, utility info, etc.). Seth has retained his cop sense of right and wrong and is mightily uncomfortable about Henry’s activities. However Nathan Holt isn’t interested in pushing Henry to follow the letter of the law. After all, the Holt Foundation is about finding victims before it’s too late. Seth is also struggling to both respect the needs of Marissa’s family as a whole and be supportive to Marissa as his girlfriend. Then he realizes that he hasn’t fully dealt with the death of his wife Holly. He’s a complicated guy and I really enjoyed watching him overcome one hurdle after another.

The ending had a few surprises. Henry! Oh, my! I also like that Seth has wrapped up some of the lose threads of his life. I would have liked further character growth for Marissa because she is a twit in this book. 4/5 stars.

The Narration: Lisa Stathoplos and Corey Gagne did a really good job with this book. I really like Gagne as Seth and Stathoplos has a perfect voice for Marissa. She also does a great job with the voices for Kelley and Brooke making all 3 ladies distinct but still sound related. I especially liked the aggravated, arrogant voice for Xander. 5/5 stars.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Chris Patchell. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

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