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Search tags: history-american
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review 2017-10-12 18:45
The Trials of Solomon Parker by Eric Scott Fischl
The Trials of Solomon Parker - Eric Scott Fischl

 

The Trials of Solomon Parker is a difficult novel to define, other than awesome!  Set in Butte, Montana in the early 1900's, it features Native Americans, deep ugly coal mines, mob bosses, boxing, lots and lots of drinking and, oh yeah, second chances.

 

Solomon Parker is a hard working man who has fallen on some hard times. His wife seems to be suffering from postpartum depression, his infant son is colicky and never stops crying, and Sol just wants to gamble and drink it all away. Add to that a fire in the coal mine and an ugly scene between mine owners and union organizers, and things only get worse. Then, Sol meets Marked Face and has the opportunity to gamble for a second chance. Will he do it, and more importantly, will he win? You'll have to read this to find out.

 

I requested this book from NetGalley, solely based on the description and the cover. I ended up seriously impressed-most especially with the quality of writing. There were scenes during that mine fire where I felt like I had trouble breathing-they were so smoky, claustrophobic and scary. I felt like I was there.

 

Interspersed with the main narrative was a bit of Native American back story. This wasn't tribe specific, but it did involve a number of traditional stories that rang true to me, (and really weren't all that different than stories from other religions and belief systems.) The skill with which this was all woven together was admirable, easy to follow, and hard to break away from.

 

Thinking about this story overnight, I raised my rating a little. This book captured and kept my imagination. It brought Butte, Montana to life, and showed real prowess depicting what the day to day was like for people back then. And that's before all the really cool stuff is taken into account!

 

So however one wants to label this book, be it historical fiction, a western, a native American fable, or a story about second chances and fate, you can be sure to label it DAMN ENTERTAINING and unique. I highly recommend it!

 

*Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the free e-ARC of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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text 2017-09-30 06:00
Reading progress update: I've read 67 out of 336 pages.
Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places - Colin Dickey

I'm debating not finishing this one. It's not bad, but with Halloween Bingo I'm not sure if it's where I want to put my reading energy, especially since it's not as interesting as expected. I have time so I guess I'll just wait and see.

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review 2017-09-27 18:45
The Girls by Emma Cline, narrated by Cady McClain
The Girls: A Novel - Cady McClain,Deutschland Random House Audio,Emma Cline

Evie Boyd was 14 when she joined a cult, even though they didn't call themselves that. They were more like a group of teenage girls surrounding one main guy and a few other male hangers-on. There are few things in this world that can be as cold and selfish as a young girl on the cusp of womanhood.

 

I listened to this on audio because the premise interested me and it was available. I've always been fascinated with cults and how people get caught up in them. In this case, Evie was young, her parents had just gotten divorced and she was at loose ends for the summer. (Idle hands and all that.) To me, she came off as a spoiled brat looking for attention, but I did come to feel a little sorry for her as the story progressed.

 

Even though I did enjoy this book, looking back on it-the "cult" members didn't have much depth to them. I can tell you how they looked and what they did, but why they were like they were? I have no clue. I think the charisma that generally pulls people into cults, (think Koresh or Manson), was missing here. I would have liked to know more about them and how they got together.

 

Cady McClain, the narrator, was excellent and reminded me of the audios of Megan Abbott's books, which I loved.

 

Overall, I enjoyed The Girls more than I thought I would and I would recommend it to people who, like me, are fascinated by cults and what draws people to them.

 

Thanks to my awesome library for the audio book loan!

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review 2017-09-26 18:57
Starting at Most Recent to the First
5th Grade American History: American Pre... 5th Grade American History: American Presidents - Baby Professor

This book is listed as for 5th grade and again I feel that it is good for the 1st and 2nd grades. Basically, it lists the names of the Presidents, what number they are and the dates of service, but is just too young for 5th grade. Sometimes there was other information, but by this age, they should be able to handle more knowledge on the Presidents than just this. 

 

It would be good for showing the Presidents, the order they served and years, but not too much else. 

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review 2017-09-25 17:52
My seventy-first podcast is up!
Blood Brothers: The Story of the Strange Friendship between Sitting Bull and Buffalo Bill - Deanne Stillman

My latest podcast is up on the New Books Network website! In it I interview Deanne Stillman about her book on the relationship between Sitting Bull and "Buffalo Bill" Cody that developed in the 1880s. Enjoy!

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