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review 2018-11-30 16:58
LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media
LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media - P.W. Singer,Emerson Brooking

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

A very interesting, though worrying study about the influence of social media in areas that we don’t necessarily consider ‘social’, such as the political world, or even as warfare. The past few years especially (but not only) have led to quite important changes in how people use internet in general and social media in particular, with the advent of giants such as Facebook, and other easy access platforms like Twitter.

As much as I stand for a ‘free’ Internet (I’m a child of the 90s, after all, and my first experiences of the web have forever influenced my views of it, for better and for worse), the authors make up for valid points when it comes to listing abuses and excesses. The use of internet as a tool for war is not new, as evidenced by the examples of the Zapatistas in 1994, or the ‘Arab Spring’ in 2011; but the latter quickly turned sour, as some governments, quick to respond, turned the same weapons of freedom into tools of control and oppression. These are the same tools and the same internet we know, but with a much different outcome.

The 2016 US elections are, of course, one of the other examples in this book, one that shows how social media, through sock-puppet accounts, can be used to influence people. The hopeful part in me keeps thinking that ‘people can’t be so stupid’, but the realistic part does acknowledge that, here too, the authors make very valid points. The rational seldom becomes viral, and what gets shared time and again is all the provoking matter (not in a good meaning of this word), the one that calls to base emotions and quick response (again, not in a good way). I kept remembering what I try to practice: “if tempted to post a scathing comment on internet, stop and wait to see if you still want to do that later” (usually, the answer is ‘no’). And so we should also be careful of how we react to what we see on social networks.

Conclusion: 4.5 stars. Kind of alarmist in parts, but in a cold-headed way, one that could have a chance of making people think and reflect on online behaviours, and perhaps, just perhaps, remain cold-headed in the future as well
.

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review 2018-06-15 17:47
Spuścizna - Isaac Bashevis Singer

Sięgnęłam po tą książkę, gdyż opis wskazywał na wielowyznaniową i wielokulturową opowieść o życiu. Pomyślałam, że trafiłam na książkę obyczajową, w której poznamy bohaterów z różnych kultur, wyznań, krajów z różnymi problemami. I rzeczywiście trochę tak jest, ale równocześnie jest jednak inaczej.

 

"Spuścizna" to przede wszystkim opowieść o różnych ludziach z jednego kręgu wyznaniowego (prawie). Bowiem bohaterowie to Żydzi. I to właśnie wśród nich można spotkać człowieka oświeconego, który nic wspólnego nie chce już mieć ze swoją religią czy katoliczkę, która odrzuciła swoją religię ze względu na chrześcijaństwo. Znajdziemy też w powieści bardzo religijnych Żydów i bohaterów, którzy praktykują swoją wiarę, aczkolwiek się nad nią nie zastanawiają. Niemniej wiara jest ważna w powieści. Lecz nie najważniejsza.

 

Powieść to zlepek różnych historii, które się ze sobą łączą w różnorodny sposób. A to nagle dochodzi do nas, iż ta bohaterka zna tamtego bohatera. A to nagle widzimy pokrewieństwo, przyjaźń, miłość. I wiele, wiele innych łączących bohaterów relacji. Bohaterów, którzy na początku wydają się nam przypadkowi, nie powiązani poznanymi wcześniej czy później bohaterami.

 

Przyznam się, że książka była w moim guście. Już dawno nie trafiłam na powieść wielopokoleniową i wielowątkową. Ostatnią przeczytaną książką, w której poznałam wielu ważnych bohaterów był kolejny tom z Sagi Pieśni i Lodu, czyli fantastyka, którą poznaję dzięki uwielbianemu przeze mnie serialowi.

 

Jak już wspomniałam, w książce znajdziemy wielu bohaterów. Niektórych z nich polubiłam, innych nie. O jednych szybko zapomniałam, o innych wciąż pamiętam. Zauważyłam, że każdy był inny, każdy miał jakieś swoje problemy, Zachowania ich były różne, bo sami byli różni. I choć stron nie było tak wiele, by dokładnie bohaterów poznać, to i tak o żadnym z nich nie można powiedzieć, że był jednowymiarowy. Niee, każdy z nich miał w sobie mieszaninę różnych cech, które określały ich jako jednostkę.

 

Najmilej wspominał Azriela. Być może przez fakt, iż jego religijne wątpliwości przypominają moje (choć inne religie). Rozumiałam go i choć niektóre z jego zachowań nie budziły mojej aprobaty (a nawet wzbudzały moją wewnętrzną krytykę) to wciąż go lubiłam. Zresztą większość bohaterów, których polubiłam w powieści, ma swoje małe grzeszki. Może to sprawiło, iż miałam do bohaterów ciepłe uczucia. Wszak każdy z nas popełnia błędy, czasem niewielkie, błahe, czasem zaś poważne. Najważniejsze zaś, co robimy później.

 

Lekturę szybko pochłonęłam. Ona mnie wciągnęła do swojego świata, oczarowała. Nagle poczułam się jakbym przeniosła się w czasie - bez telefonów, internetu, telewizora. W czasy, w których życie było ciężkie, ale i szczęśliwe. Wiecie, teraz też życie jest szczęśliwe (i o wiele łatwiejsze), lecz jest to inne szczęście niż to dostrzegane w książce.

 

Powieść skłania to przemyśleń. Pojawiają się w niej pewne niepokojące zdarzenia, antysemityzm, zmiany nastawienia ludzi do bohaterów powieści, które mogą być proroctwem gorszych, cięższych dla nich czasów. Lecz na szczęście te gorsze czasu w powieści nie nadchodzą.

 

Na koniec zostawiłam sobie słowniczek, który przypadł mi do gustu. Podczas powieści bowiem można trafić na słowa, które niekoniecznie zrozumiemy. Wówczas przydaje nam się słowniczek, który dodany jest na końcu powieści. Zawiera on wszystkie słówka z powieści, które są związane z judaizmem. Hasła są podane alfabetycznie, wyjaśnienia proste i łatwe do zapamiętania. Fajna sprawa.

 

Lekturę polecam każdemu, kto lubi zwykłe powieści o zwykłym życiu, w którym nie ma nic szczególnego, a mimo to jest ciekawe.

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text 2018-02-01 00:56
January in Review

January in Review

(Read: 5 / Reviewed: 9)

It's certainly been an interesting, if not a long, month! Phew, I thought January would never end! Fortunately I got through some great books and was able to write two reviews each week. This new routine really helped me stay on top of things. Let's take a look at all the bookish goodness, shall we?

Read

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Splatterpunk Fighting Back by (multiple) - This analogy has eleven individual stories written by different authors. Going in, I was only vaguely familiar with Duncan Ralston, having previously finished Woom. I never would've discovered this had it not been for Horror Aficionados on Goodreads, of who appointed it the January group read with author invite. I was lucky enough to ask some of the authors questions whilst trying to gain more insight into their brutal tales, and I had a blast! The best thing, though? All proceeds of this book go to charity! (Rated: 4/5)

A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay - Another one I wouldn't have picked up if not for the Horror Aficionados group. Being the January group read, I was pleasantly surprised by this one! (Rated: 4/5)

The Darkest Torment by Gena Showalter - I started this long-running series in 2011, and it's still ongoing. Whilst I really enjoyed it at the beginning, my enjoyment waned several instalments ago, however I can't just give up without finishing it, can I? Ludicrous! (Rated: 2/5)

What Hides Within by Jason Parent - I found this on Netgalley, and I'm glad I did! Bloodshot Books accepted my request, and I promptly read and reviewed it. (Rated: 4/5)

Morium by S.J. Hermann - I was requested to read and review this novel by the author. Being my last read of January, this one takes priority and will be the first review of February. See my request information here. (Rated: 3/5)

 

Reviewed 

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Blood Song by Cat Adams (WORST READ)
Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith
The Taste of Night by Vicki Pettersson
Stephen by Amy Cross
The Devil’s Work by Mark Edwards
Blood Moon by Graeme Reynolds (BEST READ)
Woom by Duncan Ralston
What Hides Within by Jason Parent
Dark Space by Kevis Hendrickson

Other than that, January was a decent month for me personally. I'm enjoying reading more, getting out more, and generally trying to put more effort into my day-to-day life. I thank everyone who made this past month all the better, including the wonderful authors I had the chance to speak to! Here's hoping for a book-tastic February!

Red xx

Source: redlace.reviews/2018/01/31/january-in-review
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review 2018-01-17 00:11
Scrum by P.D. Singer Review (Free Short Story)
Scrum - P.D. Singer

One look at the Canadian rugby star now playing on his local team turns Robin Isley into a super-fan. He’ll attend practices, cheer every game, and bleed with every tackle, but he won’t come close enough to get an autograph or say a few words.

Yves Dubois' team runs faster, passes better, and scrums harder when Robin watches: they’ve been winning steadily. Yves has a blinding smile for Robin after practices, but never stops to talk.

Robin needs to know if Yves’ grin is only joy in the game. Finding out will be Robin’s birthday milestone, but first he needs to give himself the gift of courage.

 

Review

 

Super short, super fun, free hit of rugby romance.

A good time was had by all.

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-11-27 13:00
Blood Song by Cat Adams
Blood Song - Cat Adams
Blood Song by Cat Adams
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Celia Graves, bodyguard for hire, takes on a job to protect the Prince of Rusland (which in this world is a small kingdom located in western Ukraine), but little does she know the chaos about to befall her and change her life forever. Nothing could prepare her for a group of rampaging vampires, especially when one attempts to turn her, yet is interrupted. Thus Celia is stuck - an abomination - neither belonging, nor accepted, in human society, or amongst the shadows with the monsters.

(WARNING: This review contains spoilers.)

I never thought I'd question my love of this genre (UF is what, after all, got me into reading at a relatively young age), but lo and behold, it actually happened throughout this excruciatingly long drag of a book. It wasn't even the typical cliches that bothered me; you know the type, the not-so-special protagonist turned special, the not-so-attractive woman that every man just happened to want. I can deal with the common urban fantasy tropes, because in the end it's ultimately how it's executed that deems how much enjoyment I get out of it. However, this one just didn't miss the mark, the mark was nowhere to be seen. I don't particularly like getting such a bad impression of the first in a series (Blood Singer is seven instalments long), but I can't exactly force myself to like it, either.

So, let's get into why I thought this book was rather poor. For starters, the blurb of the book gives reason to believe that the plot is centred around Celia's transformation, yet whilst it played a prominent role in the beginning - be it the looming threat of the mysterious vampire that semi-turned her - it's utterly dismissed when he's killed in the background by a character that has very little time on-page. As a result of this, not only was it misleading, but the story itself jumped all over the place and didn't seem to settle down.

I mean, for the love of God, don't intermingle plotlines if you can't do it well.

Next, there's the characters; the individuals we're supposed to connect with and therefore get attached to. There's nothing worse than feeling nothing for them, but sadly that happens when each and every one are written without depth. Sure, there were quite a few; the ex-boyfriend that was sort of the current boyfriend(?), the other male friend that sent tingles to her loins, the one heterosexual female friend, the older mentor-type that died within a few pages and the best friend that held a significant presence, yet wasn't even in it to begin with. Character death should be impactful, it should elicit an emotional response, but these people were lifeless; we weren't given time to even remotely acquaint ourselves with them before they hit the bucket. It's why I believe this to be a weak series debut - it's as if it was already several books ahead, and I'd somehow missed out on prior instalments.

Characters also had a tendency to disappear and offer no further relevance. There were multiple hints at a love triangle, however Kevin (the werewolf), played such a minor part, I quickly forgot about him. "John Jones" also could've been interesting, but he vanished early on and was never seen again.

Another thing that didn't sit quite right with me, was the whole Siren revelation. Why it needed to even be a thing, I have no clue. It added very little - basically, straight women will automatically dislike Celia, whilst men will want her and be inclined to do things for her. It's almost laughable. I'm not saying that Celia was a terrible heroine; in fact she didn't do much at all to either endear me to her, or to incur my disapproval. She had the normal attitude the majority of women have in these types of books, and moaned often about her situation - again, the usual traits.

There was one thing I appreciated, however. The dysfunctional family dynamic added an aspect I could grasp onto. It was nice, and true enough is a quote from a brief note at the beginning of the book:

"... for the most part, happy families do not make for interesting reading."

Anyway, in conclusion - I didn't enjoy this one. A part of me wants to give the series a second chance, that maybe it gets better over time, and that other part of me just wants to forget its existence. Initially I rated this two stars, because I wanted to be generous, but after a lot of thought, I'm subtracting one and leaving it at what I feel is appropriate.

Siren Song is the second instalment of this series, and was first published in 2010.

© Red Lace 2018

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Source: redlace.reviews/2018/01/01/blood-song-by-cat-adams
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