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review 2019-04-13 03:39
Beyond Belief: An Emily Castles Mystery
Beyond Belief - Helen Smith

I started reading the Emily Castles Mysteries years ago in the Before Time (before I started tracking my reading). I thought they were cute and charming cozies. This is the fourth one I’ve read in the series, and either my tastes have changed or my standards are higher or my memory is faulty. Whatever the reasons, the only cute and charming things in this book were the allegedly psychic dachshunds.


The characters are mostly bland and a bit wooden, Emily included. She’s on the scene to investigate for the thinnest reasons possible, and at some point she traded her personality for a notebook. The mystery takes too long to unfold (dead bodies don’t start showing up until well past the halfway point), the denouement is boring, and I feel like I’ve wasted my time.


*Sigh!* Next.

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review 2018-12-17 15:09
Pass the bucket
Beyond Belief: The Catholic Church and the Child Abuse Scandal - David A. Yallop

This is ire and nausea inducing, the litany of abuse and coverup and the fact that it's not a modern phenomena but the lax punishment, if any, is against earlier teachings and is an example of how the Catholic Church today is it's own worst enemy.


Every organisation needs checks and balances and also needs to ensure that the good people who work within it aren't tarred with the same brush as the abusers.  The Church needs to work on fixing it's problems, particularly how it treats abusers and victims and stop trying to pretend that it's a new or isn't endemic and this book is a good first step in looking at it.


Not an easy read, made me both sad and angry.

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photo 2018-09-13 18:46

Today's #quotable from #saimariejohnson #limitations #letnobodydefineyou#defineyourlimits #breaktheboundaries #believeachieve #inspireaspire #justdoit#standupforwhatyoubelievein #bethechangeyouwanttosee #authorsaimarie#positivemantras #influentialdecisions #selfmade #builtforsuccess

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review 2018-07-02 14:35
Not So Normal Norbert - James Patterson,Joey Green

I tend to review books from the more select small presses, but every once in a while, a mass market release catches my attention. Such is the case with Not So Normal Norbert, a fun summer read for middle graders. Patterson and Green’s science fiction fantasy is full of quirky humor and adventure and takes a stand for being different and creative, especially where homogeneity and conformity are championed. Norbert Riddle lives in the United State of Earth and being normal there means following the rules. But thanks to a lapse in youthful silliness, Norbert gets caught doing a funny impression of the dictator, Loving Leader, and is exiled to Astronuts on planet Zorquat 3, a camp where kids who break the rules can express themselves. Patterson’s collaboration with Joey Green, a long-time humor writer for adults, brings fresh ideas to the Jimmy Books series and a playful whimsy to the narrative that will win readers over.

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review 2018-04-23 17:14
Insights into a cinephile
Nixon at the Movies: A Book about Belief - Mark Feeney

Mark Feeney's book is a difficult work to describe. At its core it provides its readers with an analysis of Richard Nixon's cinephilia, the consequences of which Feeney gleans in order to explain various aspects of Nixon's psychology. This he does in a series of interconnected chapter-length essays, the majority of which are built around a particular film Nixon watched during his time as president. Feeney uses his examination of these movies as a springboard for an extended exploration into specific aspects of Nixon's life and career, such as his relationship with Ronald Reagan or his time in Congress. Drawing upon his background as a film critic, he weaves together his examination into a study of the films themselves and their related works, which he breaks down not just to draw out the elements that relate to Nixon's life but to illuminate the America in which he lived.

The result is an engrossing read. Though Feeney provides no new details about Nixon's life or his time in office, he draws out connections that deepen our understanding of the man and provide some interesting interpretations of his character. It also has the effect of humanizing the 37th president in a way that that few other books have before, showing how, at his core, Nixon was a person who enjoyed losing himself in movies as much as anyone else. While this is not the first book people should seek out to learn about Richard Nixon, the originality of Feeney's approach and the insights it provides make it one that nobody seeking to make sense of the man can afford to neglect.

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