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review 2017-09-25 02:29
Naughty Christmas
The Naughty List (Make Mine A Menage Boo... The Naughty List (Make Mine A Menage Book 1) - Jodi Redford

The Naughty List by Jodi Redford is a fun but naughty Christmas read.  Ms Redford has delivered a fun book loaded with amazing characters.  Lacey, Ry and Bram's story is full of drama, humor and five-alarm heat.  This is a M/F/M menage, so it may not be everyone's cup of tea.  I enjoyed reading The Naughty List and look forward to reading more from Jodi Redford soon.  The Naughty List is book 1 of the Make Mine A Menage Series but can be read as a standalone.  This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger.

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review 2017-09-18 17:07
Akata Witch / Nnedi Okorafor
Akata Witch - Nnedi Okorafor

Akata Witch transports the reader to a magical place where nothing is quite as it seems. Born in New York, but living in Aba, Nigeria, twelve-year old Sunny is understandably a little lost. She is albino and thus, incredibly sensitive to the sun. All Sunny wants to do is be able to play football and get through another day of school without being bullied. But once she befriends Orlu and Chichi, Sunny is plunged in to the world of the Leopard People, where your worst defect becomes your greatest asset. Together, Sunny, Orlu, Chichi and Sasha form the youngest ever Oha Coven. Their mission is to track down Black Hat Otokoto, the man responsible for kidnapping and maiming children. Will Sunny be able to overcome the killer with powers stronger than her own, or will the future she saw in the flames become reality?

 

Read to fill the “Diverse Voices” square of my 2017 Halloween Bingo card.

The Nigerian version of Harry Potter, with an albino Nigerian-American girl as the star. Sunny really only wants to be able to play football and attend school without being bullied, but her family has a legacy of magic that no one talks about and which is going to take her life in unexpected direction. Her talent is recognized by the friend of a friend and soon Sunny is being coached in juju, taken to the magical city of the Leopard People, and dealing with some very serious magical situations. Fortunately, she has her own coven of friends to aid and abet her in her adventures.

Here, there are leopards and lambs, rather than magicians and muggles, there is football rather than quidditch, but there is also a whole window into West African life and mythology that will be unfamiliar to many North American readers. Nnedi Okorafor is in the perfect position to open this window for us, being born in the United States with Nigerian immigrant parents. With feet in both worlds, she is able to weave a tale understandable to both sides of the divide.

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url 2017-08-16 17:40
My Previous Book Reviews

I started by own book review blog on blogger.com as my New Year's Resolution before I ever found out about this website.  I plan to share all of my reviews on both platforms now, but I would LOVE to have people check out my previous posts.

 

nerdybookshelf.blogspot.com

 

Here's to many more books, many more reviews, and sharing the joy of reading!

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review 2017-08-16 17:32
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business - Charles Duhigg

I recently went to Barnes & Noble to buy some books for my birthday.  I found a table that had a buy 2 get 1 free deal, but you had to pick books on the table.  Immediately I knew two books I wanted.  I had no idea what I wanted for the third book.  So I meandered around, picked up a few different books, read a few different pages, and stumbled across this book.  I had never heard of it before, never heard of the author, and had no idea what it was about.  But I've always been interested in cognitive science (science of the brain) and a "why we do the things we do" study of psychology.  It peaked my interest enough where I picked it up and brought it home.  As soon as I started reading it, I realized I would need a highlighter for all of the morsels of knowledge Duhigg provides along the way.


The book covers three different sections.  The first section explains how habits form as part of every day life.  It breaks down the science behind the formation of habits and how we can change them.  The second part of the book shows how to focus on successful habits to grow an organization or company.  The third part looks at large society groups, like churches or the civil rights movement, and how they respond to habits.  Throughout each section, it continually reminds you how the habits are formed.


As I'm finishing the book, my group of friends has decided to go on a diet starting August 1st.  Here I am reading a book about understanding your habits (both good and bad), learning how to change bad habits and create new habits, and finding the insight to recognize why I may have failed before.  What wonderful insight it has provided for me!  I still have to put in the hard work, but at least I feel like I know what to look for now.  I can follow some of the advice and plans in the book to set myself up for a better chance at success.  I really am intrigued to know if my diet will be more successful now that I've read this book.


Not only did the book make me think about my upcoming diet plans with my friends, but it opened up the thought process for a number of different habits I've formed.  To quote from the first chapter, "more than 40 percent of the actions people performed each day" aren't actual decisions, but habits.  If we can become more observant and retrospective as to why we have created habits for ourselves, it is remarkable to think of the outcome we may be able to have.  Of course, there are positive habits.  Not all of them are negative.  I guess the point is to sit and understand why the habit exists, if it is a positive or negative habit, and if there is a way to change it for the better.  I may not want to change every habit I have ever formed, but I'm hoping that this book has at least given me the option to change some of my habits for the better.

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text 2017-07-29 21:25
Reading List for Anti-Confederates
Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad - Eric Foner
Segu - Maryse Condڻ
  • Considering HBO’s recent and ill-conceived move in terms of future television, I thought I would present a brief list of books to read that will either educate you about slavery that are not objectification.  Please keep in mind that I am undoubtedly missing or forgetting some books simply because my area of interest is not Civil war.  I am trying to highlight books that are slightly less popular than Roots, the works of Frederick Douglas, or Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

 

  1. The Hanging of Angelique by Afua Cooper.   This book is not about American slavery but about slavery in Montreal.  Angelique was a slave woman who was accused and found guilty of setting a fire that destroyed part of the city.  The book details slavery in Canada and illustrates something that people in the United States really don’t know about.  Cooper spent at least 15 years researching this book, and she expands the topic slightly to deal with slaves in the colony in general. 
  2. Kindred by Octavia Butler. So, you can’t read Sci-fi and not include Butler’s book on a list like this.  Butler’s heroine finds herself in a time jump, where she is forced backwards to exist at the same time of her ancestors, including both slaves and the “owner” who raped them.  It is a stunning and wonderful novel.
  3. Segu by Maryse Conde. This novel concerns a family in Africa at a time when both slavery and Islam take hold.  Members of the family responded to the conflicts differently.  While most of the book takes place in Africa, there is a sequence set in the New World that deals with slavery and one members of the family’s reaction to it.  Conde’s writing is impassioned and her characters live.  There is also a sequel, Children of Segu.  Her book I, Tituba is about the slave in the Salem witch trials and is highly recommend as well.
  4. The Benjamin January novels by Barbara Hambly. Hambly’s series is about Ben January a listened doctor who returns to New Orleans from Paris after the death of his wife.   Ben is a black man, his mother and father were slaves, and he cannot practice medicine in New Orleans, which is part of the recent purchase.  The series concerns January solving various crimes while dealing with tensions between Americans and member of New Orleans, as well as the racism that he is subjected to every day.  His mother (a freed slave) and his sisters (both free, one a mistress) also play central roles.  The book takes a harsh look at slavery as well as what free blacks dealt with; Hambly even uses real life cases in the books.  Much of the series’ strength comes from the development of Ben who eventually remarries and resists the slave owning structure.
  5. The Land Shall be Deluged in Blood by Patrick Breen. Breen’s book is a history of the Nat Turner Rebellion.  He presents as much biographical detail about those involved in the Uprising as he can, examines why there wasn’t more support, and compares it with the events of Haiti.
  6. The Underground Railroad by Coulson Whithead. In a slim volume that imagines the Underground Railroad as a truly a railroad, Whithead uses real life examples of reactions and escapes from slavery to chronicle one woman’s fight for freedom.  The book is quick read and worthy of all the praise it gets.  Every section has a real-life story that it is based on.
  7. Gateway to Freedom by Eric Foner. Foner’s book is about the Northern areas on the Underground Railroad.  He looks at the various groups in places lIke Philadelphia who tried to help slaves to freedom.  He also highlights the various laws that made such actions illegal as well as how slave catchers took everyone who was black regardless. 
  8. Confederates in the Attic by Tony Horowitz. This book is less about the Civil War or civility, but about how certain people cannot get over the Confederacy losing.  In other words, Horowitz’s book showcases why a show such as Confederate is wrong.  Scary reading.
  9. And finally – slave narratives. Today, with the advent of ereaders and Project Guttenberg, it is quite easy to read slave narratives in addition to 12 Years A Slave or Narrative of a Life by Frederick Douglass.  This is not only due to the copyright free nature of the works (copyright expired to be more exact) but also Federal Programs that sent people out to record the narratives.  Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Escape in a Chest, William Brown’s narrative (as well as his fiction story about Jefferson’s daughter), Noah Davis’ narrative.  You can also read the works of Ida Wells, who wrote about lynching as well as various anti-slavery tracts.  All for free.
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