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review 2018-04-10 16:42
A primer from a veteran of the Western Front
A Yankee in the Trenches - Robert Derby Holmes

Robert Derby Holmes was a Bostonian who in 1916 decided to enlist in the British army.  Traveling across the Atlantic, he signed up with the Royal Fusiliers and, after a couple of months of training, was sent with his unit to France.  His book is an unvarnished recounting of his experiences, one of particular interest as it was written for an American audience that was only just beginning to experience the conflict when Holmes’s book was published.  Interspersed with the account of his service are a number of tips as to how Americans at home might best support “Sammy” at the front, all of which he follows up with a concluding chapter that reiterates some of his advice and follows up with additional suggestions.

 

Though many books have been published that recount the experience of trench warfare, Holmes’s memoir is of interest for two reasons.  The first is its date of publication; written while the war was still ongoing, it is undimmed by the intervening years that separate most accounts from the conflict.  The other is its unusual perspective, which not only relates what life in the trenches was like, but attempts to interpret the customs, patterns, and language of a foreign army for American readers.  In doing so, Holmes does not make assumptions of his reader’s prior knowledge, which makes his memoir one of the most accessible accounts of the miseries of the Western Front.

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review 2017-07-21 22:09
Figuring out who you are
Roller Girl - Victoria Jamieson

The only exposure I've had to roller derby is through the film Whip It which admittedly is more than some people. Therefore, I thought it would be fun to read more about it especially when I saw the cover of today's book. Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson follows a middle schooler named Astrid who (after going to a roller derby bout) decides that she will be an all-star roller derby girl. However, there are a few hiccups in this plan. (I was going to tell you what they are but I decided it would be better for you to discover them yourself especially since they make up the backbone of the book.) This is a story all about discovering what you're made of, adolescent friendship, and perseverance. It's pretty much middle school wrapped up in one volume + crazy rollerskating antics. I should also mention that it's a graphic novel with truly epic illustrations which were done by the author (I love when that's the case). Overall, I thought this was a fast paced, angsy book that captures what it's like to be a preteen girl who is obsessed with . It's a fun book, guys. If you have any middle grade readers in your life that love sports I think they'd really like this one. 8/10

 

And since I've done this with a few other author/illustrators I thought I'd include a blog post that Victoria Jamieson did with some sketches from the book. Here's a sample:

Source: Victoria Jamieson Illustration

 

And here's what you can expect from the finished product:

Source: books4yourkids

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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text 2017-04-19 01:46
Curioser and curiouser, more library ebook finds
Bourbon Desserts - Lynn Marie Hulsman
The Boozy Baker: 75 Recipes for Spirited Sweets - Lucy Baker
The Drunken Botanist - Amy Stewart

I just gotta try some of these recipes

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review 2016-10-07 00:00
Cocktails at Seven, Apocalypse at Eight: The Derby Cavendish Stories
Cocktails at Seven, Apocalypse at Eight:... Cocktails at Seven, Apocalypse at Eight: The Derby Cavendish Stories - Don Bassingthwaite Cocktails at Seven, Apocalypse at Eight is a hilarious collection of Derby Cavendish short stories by Don Bassingthwaite. It's chock full of sexual innuendos, puns, and general (hinted at) debauchery. The very first page wrenched an amused giggle out of me. Each story is exquisitely crafted absurdity that will have you in stitches if you've even the slightest bit of a gutter mind. From the original Mean Girl to the Three Bears, the villains are refreshing twists on age-old evils. The good guys- Derby, Andrew/Mitzy, and Matt - are adorable and easy to root for.

On a serious note, there were a few other things worth mentioning beyond the amusement factor. The first is that the author uses his stories to provide a bit of subtle (and some obvious) education for those who are not a member of the LGBT+ community. For instance, when a few of the villains are talking, one of them corrects the other on how to refer to a person that is in drag. I honestly didn't know how to do this, and was pondering it for the review, so it was nice to read! The second is that none of the villains that Derby and company go up against use homophobia as a reason to want to destroy them. Given the prejudices that still exist and get displayed on a daily basis, it wouldn't have surprised me if it had been addressed in this book. I'm glad it wasn't, though. It kept it all on a very light note.

I can truthfully say I liked every single story within this collection. (You have no idea how rare that is for me.) I do have a few favorites, though. Fruitcake - in which an ancient fertility symbol is used to make cake batter with horrible consequences. Sweater - a demon that manifests in ugly Christmas sweaters, and Derby's self-sacrifice to keep everyone safe. Finally, Organ - in which a perfect storm of happenings incites an orgy - simply because the, uhm, climax made me laugh and want to scrub the image off my brain.

Gloriously flamboyant and fantastically ridiculous, Cocktails at Seven, Apocalypse at Eight is a must read for the naughty minded. Don Bassingthwaite did a great job, and I think people will get a kick out of reading it.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy from the publisher for review consideration.
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review 2016-07-22 19:05
Rating & Review removed
Roller Girl - Vanessa North
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