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review 2017-09-11 15:18
Another Book for History Class
Civil War Forts (Uhc) - Victor Brooks

This year we are studying the Civil War. We are looking at what led to the Civil War and the Battles. While I sat at the library waiting for my girls, I spied this book (and about 6 others) sitting near where I was and grabbed them up to see if they would be good for the lessons. 

 

I started the one yesterday and finished it this morning. It is a fast read and very good information on the Forts that were battled over and why they were battled over and how the fight for it took place. 

 

The front before the forts lists dates and the order that the battles took place. The first shot of the Civil War, by whom and where. First person to die in the Civil War and how that happened (an accident during a celebration). 

 

The author also talks about how the different generals and officers knew each other and their connections and their feelings about this war. 

 

On the whole, I really enjoyed this book and the information it contained. Definitely, recommend this book to others who homeschool or just want more information. This was found in the "Teen" Room at the library. 

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review 2017-09-02 02:42
The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle
The Ballad of Black Tom - Victor LaValle

Something about today really compelled me to read this book. A couple of days ago, Obsidian Blue reviewed a different Victor LaValle book and in her final thoughts she mentioned that The Ballad of Black Tom was recommended. Even though in this bingo game I've already started Stinger (Square: Aliens), Dracula (Square: Vampire), and The Haunted Mesa (Square: Supernatural) in just the last couple of days, I ignored the Bingo call this morning, avoided making progress on those books that I've already started...and ignored the fact that Diverse Voices is no where near any sort of Bingo'ing strategy (see below), to read The Ballad of Black Tom

 

See?

 

 

 

I'm SO glad I did! 

 

This little novella is strange - the tale a riff on Lovecraft source material - but it packs a punch. I enjoyed reading the story of Tommy Tester, with his sly, conman skills that he employs to patch together a living for he and his dying dad in 1924 Harlem.

 

“There were others who would have called him a scammer, a swindler, a con, but he never thought of himself this way. No good charlatan ever did.”

 

I really enjoyed this while I was reading it, I liked how each page built steadily to one strong, bass chord of dread in the end. I loved it more once I finished it - once I let my thoughts sort of marinate in the soulful conjure music of Tom and his blood stained guitar. 

 

“Nobody ever thinks of himself as a villain, does he? Even monsters hold high opinions of themselves.”

 

This is heartbreaking and has it's terrifying moments, but it's somehow satisfying all the same. There's not much I find I really want to say about the journey because it seems like sharing any little piece of the story could somehow lessen the overall effect, but it was good. Really, really good. It deserves every award it's been bestowed. 

 

 

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review 2017-08-28 21:10
Don't Think the Book Knew What It Wanted to Be
The Devil in Silver - Victor LaValle

I am just as shocked that I found "The Devil in Silver" to be a three star read. This was a tough one for me to get through. I almost DNFed it at one point because I just found myself getting bored with this book. I think the reason why is that it started off as kind of a potential horror book that turned to thriller/mystery than a dialogue of sorts on how persons in our country are treated with mental health issues, to the current state of prejudice that exists in the U.S., to immigration, back to horror and back around again. I just kept waiting for an epic payoff and it didn't come. 

 

"The Devil in Silver" starts off with a man named "Pepper" being carted off by the police to the New Hyde Hospital. Pepper we find out got into a fight with off duty cops he dropped him off there by saying that he has to be crazy to be fighting the police. I would say though that this is where the story lost me. Pepper is a white guy, a big old white guy, but white. I just can't believe in New York City the police would be this blatant to do this to someone who is not a POC. But that's just me and my hashtag lizard truth talking right now.

 

I say this about Pepper though cause it took me a while to realize that Pepper was white. Like almost to the 60 percent point when someone mentions his hair and I realized wait, Pepper isn't black? And then I realized another character was black and I think for a second I went into a momentary state of what the hell? Did I read this before and forget? And then I had to go back and re-read chapters and then finally gave up.

 

Pepper we realize is a bit lost. He has a crush on a neighbor and thought he was helping her out and now is locked up for a mandatory 72 hour hold. No I don't know if this is legal or not, since LaValle did some research on this I am going to guess this is legal, but it does suck. 

And from there we start reading a book about the general everyday horrors of being in a psychiatric unit. I know that LaValle is trying to provoke a reaction to us as readers. And believe me I felt pity, anger, and just plain sorrow because of course I know and get this is probably a reality for a great deal of Americans out there. I am just puzzled to how horror fits in here. We get some peeks at horror with the talk of a "devil" roaming the unit and eating/killing people. But then we just shy away from that for pages and pages. 

 

I really think the book could have been tightened up a bit. And not going to lie, when we get to the second act so to speak, after Pepper and his merry crew confront the devil I lost interest in the story. I tried to struggle through this and finally just finished it in one seating the other day so I can get this over and done with.


If you are going to read LaValle, I suggest you read "The Ballad of Black Tom" or "The Changeling." This book seems to be a hybrid of a lot of different genres and didn't do any of them very well IMHO. 

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text 2017-08-27 16:31
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
The Devil in Silver - Victor LaValle

Finally finished. This book dragged a lot. Glad to get it off my currently reading list. Honestly would say this is a three star book. The Ballad of Black Tom and The Changeling was much better.

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text 2017-08-27 13:08
Reading progress update: I've read 37%.
The Devil in Silver - Victor LaValle

I am not into this as much as the two other books of his I read.

 

Pepper sat up. “Did everybody but you refuse their meds?” Pepper’s shoulders tightened as he imagined the glory of such a thing.

It had taken a few hours, but they had followed his example! Coffee rolled his eyes. “You’re not Jesus Christ. You do know that, right?”

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