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review 2020-08-25 21:30
El Norte by Carrie Gibson
El Norte: The Epic and Forgotten Story of Hispanic North America - Carrie Gibson

This is a very informative book about the Hispanic role in North American history, from the first arrival of the Spanish in the western hemisphere, through their colonization of what is today Florida, Texas, California and much of the rest of the American West, to the U.S.’s wars with Mexico and Spain and its troubled relationship with Puerto Rico, to the role of Hispanic culture in the U.S. and the treatment of Hispanic citizens and immigrants. At 437 pages of text (followed by endnotes etc.), it covers a lot, though it also has to keep moving fairly quickly to get through it all. It’s written to be accessible to the general reader, though I found it more interesting when I was able to devote larger amounts of time to keep all the facts straight.

There are a lot of facts here, and not a lot of analysis, which is a little bit too bad because I have the feeling the author has a lot more to say but was trying to keep her opinions out of it. It’s definitely a big-picture approach, a view of all of post-contact American history side-by-side with the history of the nearest Spanish-speaking colonies and countries, but with a fair amount of detail about key events and players. The author also accomplishes a rare feat in a book focused on a particular disadvantaged group in American society, which is that she doesn’t forget about the others: some of this history overlaps quite significantly with the U.S.’s treatment of Native Americans and African-Americans, which Gibson doesn’t shy away from (and treatment of Asians is touched on as well). While little of the history was entirely new to me, I was still struck by, for instance, the extent to which southern slaveowners hoped to take over Cuba, several Mexican states, and possibly other southern neighbors in order to extend slavery. My biggest complaint is that the book could have been clearer about the implications of how the Mexican-American War got started. But I particularly appreciated the way the author relates the history of Mexico side-by-side with the U.S.; although we're neighbors, I'm not sure I've actually seen these histories in the same work before.

Overall, this is an interesting and accessible history that provides as comprehensive a view of the long history of Spanish-speaking people and their descendants in the U.S. as I’ve ever seen. It’s a useful perspective and a worthwhile read.

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review 2020-06-11 03:49
Oo-de-lally, I had fun with this
The Ghosts of Sherwood - Carrie Vaughn

“Can you tell how the mood is from here? How the journey went?”


“I won’t know how it went until I see Father’s face,” she said. “And see if he smiles or frowns?”


“No. And see if his smile is glad or wicked.” Her father would be smiling in any case.

That right there? That's the line that sold me, I love that take on Robin Hood—between screen and print, all you can find lately is earnest, serious, Robin Hood as populist rebel with almost all the fun sucked out of it. Vaughn's Locksley contains those elements, sure—but he's also the outlaw in search of adventure, who enjoyed what he was doing. Always smiling--it's just a matter of what kind of smile he wore.


We rejoin the Earl after the signing of the Magna Carta (which he was instrumental in getting that rascal King John to sign). He's had to do the unthinkable—bowing the knee to John after Richard's death—in order to protect his lands, his friends, and his wife. With Marian's help to contain his impulses*, he's become a responsible member of the nobility, doting father, and law abiding citizen.


* To be fair, Marian misses the adventures, too. But she's not at that stage in her life anymore.


All that other stuff? Well, he's content to leave that to the bards and storytellers. So much so that his own children aren't sure how much to believe, "Everything about Father is stories."


At least, that's what his eldest daughter, Mary, says. But after she and her siblings are kidnapped, they'll all get a better idea just what their father is capable of.


That's all I'm going to say about that. This is very much a "pilot episode" of a novella. We meet the kids—Mary, John, and Eleanor—catch up with a couple of the Merry Men, see where Robin and Marian are in their lives and so on. Vaughn balances that with the kidnapping story.


The kidnapping is a quick and almost-too-neat story solely because of the space she has to tell it. If Vaughn hadn't had to establish so much in these 112 pages, you get the feeling that the kidnapping wouldn't have been resolved quite as neatly.


My sole complaint—and it's a big one—is that this is a novella, and not a collection of novellas/short stories. I just needed more of everything—the kids, Robin, Marian, the other members of Robin's band. This is a great introduction to this world and these characters, with a little bit of drama. But having been introduced, I want to read the next one. Or, the next five or so.


But no. Tor is making me wait until August for the second one. Which is simply unfair.


While my tongue is firmly in my cheek above, there is a kernel of truth to my gripe—I'm 97% sure that this thing has legs and that I'm in for several more (even if it's currently slated to be a duology, but I'm hoping that changes), but I'm going to have to wait to really commit until August when The Heirs of Locksley is scheduled to be released. But in the meantime? This was a quick and fun read, full of promise, and one I heartily recommend.

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2020/06/10/the-ghosts-of-sherwood-by-carrie-vaughn-oo-de-lally-i-had-fun-with-this
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review 2020-04-04 17:55
Just who is the Vampire Rick, Anyway?
The Immortal Conquistador - Carrie Vaughn

I've been trying to get this out for over a week now (it was published last week), but I couldn't seem to be able to—I'm a little surprised I've had the energy to post anything since I started telecommuting (odd that not going anywhere tires me out more than going to work does). Finally, with apologies to the publisher for getting this post up late.

I've been a fan of the Kitty Norville series since the debut in 2005, and one of the supporting characters that fans seem most enamored of—and are given the least information about—is Kitty's vampire ally, Rick (the Master of Denver).


For those (like me) who need a little brushing up on some of what went on toward the end of the series, Rick leaves Denver for a while in order to explore a different way to take on Dux Bellorum (the series' Big Bad).


This book gives the reader some insight into what Rick was up to during this time. The book stitches together four short stories about Rick's origin (some previously published, some not) while Rick introduces himself to the Order of Saint Lazarus.


I'd already read the first story, "Conquistador de la Noche," in the collection <b>Kitty's Greatest Hits</b>—but it worked really well in this setting, too—this sets the stage for the rest of Rick's history and tells about him becoming a vampire. The next two stories show what happens when he first encounters the Vampire sub-culture and is first exposed to the rules (most) Vampires live by and how Rick skirts the edges of those rules and starts to make both a name for himself and build his different kind of power base.


The fourth story is my favorite detailing what happens when Rick meets a legendary Old West character. It was just a great story with an element of fun. It's also something the reader is told that Rick's never told anyone about before. It's precisely the kind of thing that Kitty would kill to hear, she's constantly asking vampires and other supernatural types for stories like this. That Rick would go out of his way to deprive her of this story (but we get to read it) was a little extra dash of fun.


I don't know that this gave me a much better picture of Rick—the novels had pretty much done that. We know his character, we may not understand his past and what he was—but we know who he <i>is</i>. But this book rounds out our understanding of the man and gives the reader a little hope for his future.


Once I cottoned on to what Vaughn was doing—stitching together short stories—I was a little skeptical of the format. But I came around pretty quickly and decided it worked really well. It's better than a simple short story collection, essentially giving us a bonus story. The stories (including the framing device) feel different from the Kitty series, but not so much that it doesn't feel like the same world.


A cool bonus of this—you can read it totally independent of the Kitty Norville series. It's not dependent <i>at all</i> on the events or people of the series (there are references to certain antagonists, but not in any way that makes familiarity with the series necessary for understanding).


I do have to wonder about the timing of this—the series ended almost five years ago, so I'm not sure I get why we're getting this material in this format now. But that's just me being curious, not complaining. Did I (or the series) need <b>The Immortal Conquistador</b>? No. But I'm very glad I got it.


<i><b>Disclaimer:</b> I received this eARC from Tachyon Publications via NetGalley in exchange for this post —thanks to both for the opportunity.</i>

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2020/04/03/the-immortal-conquistador-by-carrie-vaughn-just-who-is-the-vampire-rick-anyway
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text 2020-03-18 19:20
The Princess Diarist - Carrie Fisher

I really enjoyed the Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher. I was surprised at how much poetry was included in her diaries. 

It was interesting reading so much about Harrison Ford and their relationship. It did not go much into Star Wars, as I assumed.

If you love Carrie Fisher and her other books, I think you will really enjoy this. 

We had out book club meeting and I wish I listened to the audiobook. She reads it and Billie Lourd reads her excerpts from the diary.


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review 2020-03-18 08:10
Blog Tour w/Review - Fool Me Twice



by Carrie Aarons

Release Date: March 12th




FREE in Kindle Unlimited! 





Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51029776-fool-me-twice








When my best friend died of cancer just before her eighteenth birthday, she left her coveted bucket list to me.


The things she already crossed off? Skinny dipping, going to Paris, completing the local hot wing challenge, road tripping to the ocean, and sending out a message in a bottle.


So, it falls on me to finish it for her, to honor her memory. In the next year, it’s my mission to:


1. Dye my hair

2. Have sex

3. Camp out in a tent

4. Go bungee jumping

5. Get revenge on Lincoln Kolb


Most are doable, some terrify me, and then there is the last item on the list. When the raven-haired football god dumped my best friend during senior year of high school, she was devastated. The jerk with charm for days found out she was sick, and betrayed her in the worst way possible.


But he doesn’t know me, I went to school a town over. Now, to fulfill my promise, I’m the newest freshman on the campus where he is the big man. If there is one thing, aside from cheap beer, that a jock can’t pass up, it’s a shiny new girl.


So when I catch his eye, play hard to get, and then fall into his bed, I know my scheme is working to perfection. But what Lincoln can’t see coming is the beatdown I have planned for his ice-cold heart.


Unfortunately, what I never saw coming was the one he had planned for mine.        






Fool Me TwiceFool Me Twice by Carrie Aarons
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Henley has just gone through the worst thing any teenager should have to right before college. She has lost her very best friend to cancer. Now she is trying to stay loyal by finishing her besties bucket list.

Lincoln is intrigued by the new blonde who give him so much crap. He loves that nothing gets past her. This is a woman he could fall for. He has to focus on football, but maybe there is room for more?

This was a very sweet story. I found that I enjoyed the author's twists and turns for this couple. They were truly meant to be. So many surprises in this book too. The pace was pretty steady, and the story rich and solid.

View all my reviews





About the Author:


Author of romance novels such as The Tenth Girl and Privileged, Carrie Aarons writes books that are just as swoon-worthy as they are sarcastic. A former journalist, she prefers the love stories of her imagination, and the athleisure dress code, much better. When she isn't writing, Carrie is busy binging reality TV, having a love/hate relationship with cardio, and trying not to burn dinner. She’s a Jersey girl living in Texas

with her husband, daughter and furry son.      


Connect w/Carrie:


Website: https://www.authorcarrieaarons.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/carrieaarons

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/carriescharmers

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/authorcarriea

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/authorcarriea

Goodrreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14160972.Carrie_Aarons Bookbub: http://bit.ly/2qMibwO

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Carrie-Aarons/e/B011J4HWW4

Newsletter Signup: https://www.authorcarrieaarons.com/subscribe  



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