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review 2018-05-12 18:22
Girl, Stolen - April Henry

Cheyenne is blind and has pneumonia. While her mother goes to get medicine, Cheyenne is left unattended in the car. Cheyenne gets kidnapped by a family and isn't given back. Griffin realizes how bad of an idea this was and decides to try and help her escape.

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quote SPOILER ALERT! 2018-04-19 13:19
"For once in his life, Jimbo finally shut up!"
-TJ
Girl, Stolen - April Henry

In Girl, Stolen, Two characters by the name of Jimbo and TJ get into an argument over whether or not to shoot Griffin. In this conversation, they reveal that Roy killed Griffin's mother. In the end, TJ has enough of Jimbo's insults and shoots him.

This quote shows that TJ is a terrible person, and does not mind killing people. Then again, the man he shot was Jimbo, who provoked TJ into getting in trouble multiple times. 

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text 2018-04-09 13:20
A mandatory introduction
Girl, Stolen - April Henry

My name is Billy, and I'm rereading Girl, Stolen by April Henry. It isn't a particularly good book, but sometimes you just want to laugh at some ridiculous or over-the-top characters. 

 

I've gotten to page 197 so far, and a second read did not help my liking of the characters. The melodramatic nature of the book does not help. It seems like such an interesting concept- a blind kidnap victim- but the idea doesn't work. What you get instead is a number of forgettable characters that act so irrationally it's funny.

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review 2018-04-07 16:47
An enjoyable but overwrought book
The Stolen Village: Baltimore and the Barbary Pirates - Des Ekin

Despite being the subject of considerable attention at the time, the raid on the Irish coastal village of Baltimore on June 20, 1631 is an event that has been long overlooked by most histories of the era.  Yet as Des Ekin demonstrates in this absorbing book, it is an event that offers an interesting window into life in the early 17th century.  While such raids were uncommon they were not unheard of, as Barbary pirates started ranging out into the Atlantic and raiding settlements along the coast.  It was one of these raids which fell upon Baltimore, sacking the village and capturing over a hundred men, women, and children.  These captives were then taken to Algiers and sold into slavery, a fate from which few of them would ever escape.

 

Ekin’s book is an entertaining account of this traditionally obscure event.  A journalist and author of two novels, Ekin conducted considerable research to underneath the lives and experiences of the Baltimore captives.  Where the directly relevant sources ended Ekin turned to the accounts of others who dealt with the Barbary pirates or underwent similar experiences in an effort to understand better what life was like for the villagers of Baltimore.  Though this occasionally comes across as padding, it results in a more generally informative portrait of the early 17th century, the economics of slavery, and life during those times.

 

Yet these strengths are offset by several problems.  While his research into the village of Baltimore, the captives, and their lives is thorough, his coverage of the broader context is weaker, with descriptions of such groups as the Janissaries often dependent on a couple of sources, often dated and bearing errors as a consequence.  Moreover, while Eakin claims in his preface that he has made nothing up, the text is peppered with assumptions and suppositions that strain such an assertion.  Stitching all of this together is an overwrought prose style that gets in the way of a naturally exciting tale.  These flaws detract from what is otherwise an interesting account of the sack of Baltimore and the fate of its survivors.

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review 2018-03-12 22:32
"Who is my real Daddy"
The Stolen Child - Sanjida Kay

This was an excellent psychological thriller that kept me wanting to know more. I was listening to the audiobook and the narration by Helen Johns was excellent too. It is well paced and convincing, with good dialogue; the only reason I didn't give it 5 stars was that the police didn't seem to do much, nearly all the discoveries that led to the denouement, were made by Zoe Morley, the Mum, which seemed just a little too coincidental.

 

Zoe and Ollie had adopted baby Evie from a drug addicted young mother. And, as sometimes happens in such cases, several years later, they were able to have a child of their own, who they named Ben. They are content with their young family and life is good. Then Zoe discovers that seven-year-old Evie, has been receiving gifts and cards signed 'Your loving Daddy'. He declares his undying love for Evie and promises to come and rescue her from her 'fake parents'. As Evie struggles to come to terms with the fact that she is adopted and her brother, Ben, is not, the thought of having one of her 'real' parents back becomes more and more tantalising.

 

I thought early on that I knew who Evie's father was, but I'm glad to say there were many more surprises and possible culprits along the way and the ending managed to take me by surprise.

Set in Yorkshire, in and around the Ilkley Moors, this novel has a brooding atmosphere and I loved that Zoe uses this to inspire her art.

 

I am looking forward to reading Sanjida Kay's earlier novel, Bone to Bone, which also seems to have been well received.

Recommended, and the audio is good too.

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