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review 2020-06-15 07:36
Under the Banner of Heaven ★★★☆☆
Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith - Jon Krakauer

This was not really the book I was expecting - a true crime nonfic with an exploration of the religious fanaticism that drove the murder, how man commits atrocities and somehow uses his God to justify it to himself and others, especially when God has conveniently provided him with a divine revelation to go ahead with whatever it was he really wanted to do, anyway. 

 

Krakauer does this, peripherally, but he really spends far more time just giving us the history of the mainstream Mormon church and its splinter fundamentalist groups that more closely resemble the original founders' intents and revelations in all its glorious 19th century brutality, xenophobia, misogyny, and racism. Ah, the good old days. 

 

I'm generally suspicious of all organized religions, but even I felt that, if the author was going to spend so much time sifting through LDS history for all the dirt, he could at least make the effort to provide a more balanced view of what the church is and what, if anything, they do about the lunatic fringe. Besides excommunicating them. 

 

And I still have very little sense of who Brenda Lafferty was, besides a woman with enough courage to fight back. 

 

It was interesting enough reading in short bursts, but this is the longest I've taken to read a book since the pandemic began and the social isolation and cancellation of baseball left me a LOT more time to spend reading. 

 

 

I read this for the Booklikes-opoly 2020 lot The Lake House 19: Read a book with a cover that is more than 50% blue, or by an author whose first or last name begins with any letter in the word L-A-K-E. 

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review 2020-05-28 16:30
Everneath ★★☆☆☆
Everneath - Brodi Ashton

I'm not sure it's possible for a book to fail the Bechdel test when there are no actual conversations in the first 50 pages, but this one seems to fail the intent, anyway. This re-imagining of the Persephone myth has an interesting premise and (what I read of it) is well-written. But our main character is wholly defined by (and obsesses over) her relationships to people with penises, with a token "best friend" with whom she exchanges three sentences, outside of hellos and goodbyes. 

 

I just am not the target audience for this kind of book. DNF at page 50.

 

Hardcover, signed by the author, who seemed like a very engaging person at her book tour. 

 

I was reading this for the Booklikes-opoly 2020 game, for the lot Stay-cation 8: Read a book that was published during the months of May, June or July, or that contains an item that would be used as a school supply or an article of clothing or an accessory pictured on the cover. This book has a girl in a dress on the cover. With half her head cut off, in true YA cover fashion. Since I DNF'd early, I don't earn any $$ for it. 

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review 2020-05-24 14:55
The Bungalow Mystery ★★★★☆
The Bungalow Mystery - P.M. Carlson,Russell H. Tandy,Carolyn Keene
The Bungalow Mystery - Carolyn Keene

Overall review for both the 1930 original story and the 1960 revision, after reading and comparing both.

 

The third book in the series was perhaps the most exciting so far, with Nancy almost continually in peril and getting herself out of one scrape after another. As usual, the mystery depends heavily on coincidence and inconsistencies that don’t stand up to much scrutiny, but it gives Nancy plenty of opportunity to show off (modestly, of course) her smarts, her skills, and her courage.

There is a significant difference in storytelling style and characterization between the versions.

 

The 1930 plot and characters are kept simple and few. We are more often inside Nancy’s head as she’s working out the clues and coming to conclusions. There is a buildup of suspense, violence both actual and implied, and Nancy is far more impulsive and emotional – she gets spooked, is at times frightened, but bravely recovers and thinks things through.  The 1960 version introduces many more characters, romance elements, and a far more complicated plot, but we don’t get to solve the mystery inside Nancy’s head. We are on the outside and she just tells us her conclusions along with the other characters. This Nancy is also brave, but she is almost always deliberate, cool, and collected; justifying her actions as staying within the letter of the law and as morally just.

 

Original 1930 text: ★★★★★

Revised 1960 text: ★★☆☆☆

Averages out to a probably over-generous ★★★★☆

 

Index of Posts:

ND3 Reading start

ND3 Reading finish

ND3.0 Overview

ND3.1 1930 Chs 1-3 vs 1960 Chs 1-2

ND3.2 1930 Chs 4-6 vs 1960 Ch 3

ND3.3 1930 Chs 7-9 vs 1960 Chs 4&8

ND3.4 1930 Chs 9-11  vs 1960 Ch 5-7; 9-10

ND3.5 Chs 12-14  vs 1960 Ch 11-12

ND3.6 1930 Chs 14-17 vs 1960 Ch 13-14

ND3.7 1930 Chs 18-21 vs 1960 Ch 15-17

ND3.8 1930 Chs 22-25 vs 1960 Ch 18-20

ND3.9 Artwork comparison

ND3.10 Overall review

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review 2020-05-02 19:13
Review ~ Awesome!
Lily - Michael Thomas Ford,Staven Andersen

 

Book source ~ Gifted

 

On the morning of her thirteenth birthday Lily touched her father and saw his death. Thinking it was a bad dream, she realizes it’s a curse when he dies that very day. Her mother whisks her away from the village she grew up in to the outside world that doesn’t have any magic. Joining a traveling tent revival the evangelical preacher uses Lily’s gift for his own gain. In the meantime, Baba Yaga has taken an interest in Lily. Which is surely not a good thing. How will Lily get back to the only place she loved, rescue the girl she’s falling in love with, and complete the quest Baba Yaga has given her?

 

This is a fascinating tale about Baba Yaga and a girl who can see death. Strange and compelling I couldn’t help but drop into the story and stay there to cheer Lily on to a satisfactory conclusion. It defies pigeon-holing and crosses several genre lines. It’s young adult, fantasy, horror, and LGBT. Plus, it’s illustrated! This is my first read of Michael Thomas Ford and I look forward to delving into more of his works.

Source: imavoraciousreader.blogspot.com/2020/05/lily.html
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review 2020-05-01 15:40
Mary Wakefield ★★★☆☆
Mary Wakefield - Mazo de la Roche

I don't think I've ever read a romance where I found both romantic leads so thoroughly boring. I had no interest in seeing whether they would work it out, was even sort of rooting for the devious and catty rival Muriel to knock Mary aside and snatch the indolent Philip away. And most likely make him miserable for the rest of his life. The charm of this book was in the peripheral characters and in the strong sense of place. Perhaps my favorite character was Phillip's half-grown spaniel pup, with his melodramatic moanings and joyful gambolings and callow slinkings and mournful mopings. 

 

Hardcover, third in a series, in which I have no desire to read further. I inherited this vintage 1949 book from my father, as one of the few mementos of his mother. I never met her, but from his accounts she was a loving and terrifyingly Sicilian lady who, with her cabal of equally terrifying sisters, kept all the rascally extended family in line. 

 

The book itself has some interesting features. I love vintage books. The yellowed and unevenly cut pages. The wonderful smell of musty old libraries. But this one also has the hardcover embossed with a leafy logo, the original price sticker from what used to be a fancy Austin downtown department store, and a delightful rant about teachers and public schools on the back cover. Also, I used one of my favorite old bookmarks, a fundraiser for The Wilderness Society, with a photo of a solitary live oak in a field of bluebonnets and Indian blankets. It is so very Central Texas that it always makes my heart ache a little. 

 

 

 

 

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